Vaccinations against Pneumonia and Shingles

Winter vaccinations


Winter vaccinations
Arek Socha at Pixabay

As we’re getting through autumn and closer to winter you need to think about your vaccines against pneumonia and shingles. Having a vaccine against these two conditions will help to lower the risk of catching them and keep you healthy over the colder seasons.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is caused by the inflammation of the tissues in the lungs. Although anyone can catch pneumonia it is more common in the very young and the elderly.
How do you get pneumonia?
Pneumonia is normally due to a bacterial infection, but there are other causes which include:
• A virus – Viral Pneumonia
• By breathing in smoke or chemicals – Aspiration Pneumonia
• From a fungal infection – Fungal Pneumonia
• By using a breathing apparatus while in hospital – Hospital Acquired Pneumonia
Pneumonia can also affect smokers and people who have other health conditions with or without a weakened immune system.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

The symptoms of pneumonia can include:
• A cough with phlegm
• Shallow breathing
• High temperature
• Loss of appetite
• Sweats and shivers
You might also develop a headache or feel sick and have fatigue and joint pain. Elderly people might become disoriented and confused.
When to see a doctor
If you have any of the symptoms of pneumonia, then make an appointment to see your doctor. Your doctor will usually treat you with antibiotics and advise you to drink plenty of liquids and get lots of rest.

How to reduce your risk of getting pneumonia

Book in for a vaccination with your doctor, or with us here at the pharmacy. Be sure to wash your hands regularly and if you sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief.

What is Shingles?

It is an infection caused by the chicken pox virus (varicella-Zoster) it affects the skin and the nerves around the skin. It can be very painful.

How do you get shingles?

If you have had chickenpox the virus lies dormant in your body. But it can reactivate. If it does, you end up with shingles. The fluid from the blisters which come up from your skin can be contagious, although another person will get chickenpox rather than shingles at this point.

What are the symptoms of shingles?
The main symptom is pain which is then followed by a rash on certain parts of your skin. The rash brings up blisters which itch. The most common places to get shingles are on your:
• tummy
• chest
• face
• eyes
• genitals
As well as the pain and itching you may develop a headache and feel generally unwell.

When to see a doctor

If you can get treatment in the first 3 days of the infection this should help you to recover more quickly. Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral cream for the rash and paracetamol to ease the pain.
At home, you should make sure the rash is always clean and dry as this will reduce the risk of infection. You can also use a cold compress if the pain is particularly strong.

How long do shingles last?

Unfortunately, shingles can last for a few weeks and your rash may take around 4 weeks to disappear. Even then you may still have some pain after that. Over time the pain will lessen and then disappear.

How do you reduce your risk of getting shingles?

You can reduce your risk of getting shingles with a vaccination. We can arrange for you to come into the pharmacy to be vaccinated or you can make arrangements at your doctor’s surgery.

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