Vaccination against pneumonia


Pneumonia is the name given to them acute or chronic Inflammation of the lung tissue. This potentially life threatening illness is mostly due to infection with bacteria, Viruses, Mushrooms or Parasites triggered.

Read detailed information on this topic at: lung infection

Infectious pneumonia can in many cases be prevented by vaccinations. The medical classification of pneumonia is complicated. However, a rough guide is given by the circumstances under which the pneumonia occurred. If the patient falls ill at home, in an old people's or nursing home, what is known as community-acquired pneumonia is present.

If a patient falls ill after a certain period of time in hospital, one speaks of nosocomial pneumonia, the pneumonia acquired in the hospital. A further subdivision takes place according to the severity of the course. In the home environment, pneumonia usually develops as a result of an infection of the upper respiratory tract, such as occurs, for example, in a flu-like infection caused by viruses. Due to the weakened defense mechanisms of the respiratory tract, bacteria can colonize the lung tissue and cause inflammation. In almost half of all adults, these bacteria are so-called streptococci, chain bacteria that are also found on the oral mucosa of healthy people and are normally kept in check by the immune system.

In the case of nosocomial pneumonia acquired in hospital, a different spectrum of germs must be assumed. Here the suspicion of hospital germs, some of which show a broad spectrum of antibiotic resistance, comes to the fore. A variety of vaccinations can help prevent some types of pneumonia. The following sections should clarify whether this makes sense for each individual

You might also be interested in: Vaccination against pneumococci

Who should get vaccinated against pneumonia?

As can already be seen from the introduction, a strong immune system helps to prevent the spread of bacteria in the airways and thus also in the lung tissue. This means that mostly people with weakened defense are at risk of developing pneumonia. Older people are particularly at risk, especially when they are in communal facilities such as old people's or nursing homes.

Even chronically ill and permanently weak patients run the risk of pneumonia due to their reduced general condition. Above all, this includes people who attend Heart disease, on chronic lung disease or at the Diabetes Suffer. This is often associated with a permanently weakened immune system. Also the Alcohol sickness in the long run leads to an immunodeficiency.

One of the diseases that permanently impair the body's defenses is the immune deficiency disease AIDScaused by the HI virus (HIV). Patients in the active disease stage (AIDS) in particular often succumb to severe pneumonia. With underlying diseases, like some Cancers or a severe one Rheumatic disease, drug therapy can weaken the immune system. Here too, patients are threatened with severe pneumonia. An important organ of the lymphatic system, so also the immune system is spleen. It is the location of the Monocyteswhich are white blood cells and play important roles in the immune system. Patients who have had their spleen removed belong to the group of people who are particularly at risk of developing pneumonia. Children are also particularly at risk of developing pneumonia. Vaccination against pathogens causing pneumonia should be considered for all of the above-mentioned groups of people.

When do you need to refresh?

Medicine today knows vaccinations against three pathogens pneumonia, which can reduce the number of cases of pneumonia, especially in the highly endangered groups of people, and thus save lives. This is the vaccination against Pneumococci, which belong to the streptococci already mentioned, to be vaccinated against the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae and about vaccination against Flu viruses.

The vaccination schedule and the time after which the vaccination must be refreshed differs from pathogen to pathogen. In the case of people at particular risk, the Pneumococcal vaccination recommended after six years. The Standing Vaccination Commission at the Robert Koch Institute considers a renewed determination of the need for the booster vaccination to be useful.

Against Haemophilus influenzae Children are vaccinated in a series of vaccinations in the 3rd and 5th month and in the second year of life as part of a 6-fold vaccination. The protection lasts up to the age of 5, after which no refreshment is necessary. At present, when adult at-risk patients are vaccinated against Haemophilus influenzae, a booster is often given every five years. There are currently no valid data on the need for these booster vaccinations.

From Flu viruses is known to be change every year. This means that the flu vaccine from the previous year is only effective to a limited extent or not at all in the following year. The flu vaccination must therefore be repeated every year. A vaccine is used, which is adapted annually to the changed virus.

Read more on the topic: Flu shot

Side effects

Thanks to the complex approval process for vaccines, vaccinations are considered a very safe way of avoiding diseases. Damage to the health of the vaccinated person is almost impossible today. Nevertheless, as with almost every medical procedure, side effects can occur, which in most cases subside quickly and are absolutely harmless.

Typical symptoms after vaccination include local swelling and reddening of the skin around the injection site. Symptoms such as fever, fatigue and malaise are less common. However, these should not be a cause for concern, as they are just a sign that the immune system is dealing with the vaccine. Pain in the vaccinated extremity is as common as it is harmless. They occur preferentially after the vaccine has been administered to the muscles, resemble aching muscles in their painful character and disappear by themselves after a few days. In rare cases, the vaccination site can become infected if hygiene measures are not observed. In the case of this so-called injection abscess, the surrounding tissue becomes reddened within the following days, the injection site becomes overheated and swells. Throbbing pain can be felt. A fever can also occur. A doctor should treat the inflammation to prevent consequential damage. Serious vaccination consequences such as allergic reactions are extremely rare; suspected cases must be reported to the health department.

Read more on the topic: Fever in adults after vaccination

The fact that vaccinations trigger serious secondary diseases such as epilepsy, autoimmune diseases or autism is a concern that is repeatedly expressed in circles of vaccination critics. In medical science, these fears are taken seriously and examined accordingly. So far, however, no vaccination has shown an increased risk of chronic diseases like the one mentioned above.

Pain after vaccination

As with most vaccinations, vaccination against pneumonia can cause pain. In most cases, these are limited to the vaccinated extremity. Local reddening and swelling is not uncommon and usually does not require further clarification. Pain that resembles sore muscles in character also occurs frequently and is harmless. As part of the vaccination reaction, which is an expression of the immune system's struggle with the vaccine, head and body aches can occur that are similar to the symptoms of a flu-like infection and usually disappear after a few days. However, if redness and swelling in the area of ​​the vaccination site increase over the course of a few days, the affected skin areas become overheated and a dull, throbbing pain dominates, a doctor should be consulted again. This could be an abscess from a syringe that requires further investigation and treatment.

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What will the vaccination cost me?

The cost of vaccinations against Pneumococci and Haemophilus influenzae are from the Health insurance taken overif the patient belongs to one of the risk groups mentioned above. The annual flu vaccination is available in the autumn months in every family doctor's practice or from many company doctors. The costs for this are always borne by the health insurance companies.

Vaccinations for babies

The STIKO (Standing Committee on Vaccination of the Robert Koch Institute) currently recommends vaccinating infants and young children against Haemophilus influenzae and Pneumococci. The vaccination against Haemophilus influenzae takes place in four partial vaccinations at the ages of two, three, four and eleven to fourteen months. If the immunization is missed in the first year of life, vaccination can be carried out up to the fourth year of life.

For vaccination against pneumococci are three partial vaccinations necessary at the age of two, four and eleven to fourteen months. If you fail to do this, you can be vaccinated up to the age of two. Infants, toddlers and children are not vaccinated against influenza; it is only available for adults.

Vaccination from the age of 60

From the age of 60, the STIKO of the Robert Koch Institute recommends an annual vaccination against flu viruses. Although the viral flu is considered an unpleasant but harmless disease, complications increase in the course of the disease in older people. The most feared complication of the flu is pneumonia, which can be potentially fatal. The probability of a fatal outcome of the disease increases with age and with the occurrence of concomitant diseases. The development of pneumonia due to a flu infection can be effectively prevented by the annual vaccination.

Read more on this topic at: Pneumonia in old age