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How can pneumonia be prevented?

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Quick Answer

Getting a yearly flu shot, practicing solid hygiene, quitting smoking and remaining fit are four ways to avoid pneumonia, states Mayo Clinic. Pneumonia vaccinations for senior citizens and children younger than 5 provide another line of defense for especially vulnerable people.

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Full Answer

People who develop the influenza virus can develop pneumonia as a direct result, and the flu can also cause bacterial pneumonia as a frequent complication, according to Mayo Clinic. While the flu shot is not an ironclad guarantee against getting the virus, it goes a long way toward prevention. Washing hands regularly and using hand sanitizer with an alcohol base provide another layer of sanitary defense against pneumonia.

Physicians recommend a one-time pneumonia vaccine for anyone over the age of 65 and for people who live in long-term care facilities or nursing homes. Those with an elevated risk for pneumococcal pneumonia should definitely receive the vaccine, notes Mayo Clinic. Some physicians recommend getting a booster shot five years after the initial injection. A different pneumonia vaccine is available for children, and all children under 2 and between the ages of 2 and 5 who go to a group day care or preschool should receive the vaccine. Doctors also suggest annual flu shots for children over the age of 6 months.

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