Pneumonia is a contagious infection in the lungs that causes the air sacs to fill with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe. The condition can be mild, but it can also be severe enough to send you to the hospital. That’s why Chris Reynolds, MSN, nurse practitioner at CHI Memorial Convenient Care – Signal Mountain, recommends that people over the age of 65 get two pneumonia vaccines for the most effective protection against this potentially life-threatening condition.
“The first vaccine needed is Prevnar 13, which covers 13 different strains of pneumonia. After one year, patients come back for a follow up shot of pneumovax 23. Two vaccines, one year apart – and that’s it,” says Reynolds. “I encourage all of my patients in this age group and those who are on high dose steroid therapy or who have any kind of immune system compromise like cancer, having your spleen removed, or cochlear implants to take this simple step.”
Statistics show that close to a million people are admitted to the hospital or seek care for pneumonia, and nearly 50,000 people die from it each year. Yet only 69 percent of adults over the age of 65 choose to get the vaccine. The potential side effects – a minimal reaction at the injection site, swelling or feeling tired for a few days – are the reason most people site for not getting vaccinated.
“Pneumonia can cause a very high fever, chest pain, cough and difficulty breathing, which are much more serious than the potential side effects that can come along with the vaccine,” says Reynolds. “These vaccines drastically reduce your risk and protects those around you. The more people who are vaccinated, the better defense there is for the whole community.”
You don’t need an appointment at CHI Memorial Convenient Care – Signal Mountain. Walk-ins are welcome! The clinic is open Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and is located at 11238 Taft Highway, Suite 170, Signal Mountain, TN 37377. Call(423) 886-2004 for more information. To learn more about CHI Memorial Convenient Care – Signal Mountain, visit CHIMemorialConvenientCare.org.