Influenza, or the “flu,” is a respiratory illness that is caused by flu viruses and easily spread from person to person. There are over 200,000 hospitalizations from the flu on average every year. An average of 36,000 Americans die annually due to the flu and its complications. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot each year during the fall season. Because flu viruses change from year to year, it is important to get a flu shot each year. Higher percentages are better.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that is caused by bacteria or a virus and can spread from person to person. A cold or flu that gets worse can turn into pneumonia. Although antibiotics such as penicillin were once very effective at treating pneumonia, the disease has mutated (changed) so these treatments are not as effective. The best way to prevent pneumonia is to get a flu shot each year (as flu often leads to pneumonia) and frequently washing your hands.
Those who are more at risk of getting pneumonia, such as young children, people over the age of 65, people with a chronic illness (such as heart or lung disease or diabetes), or people who have had pneumonia before, should get the pneumonia vaccine. Ask your doctor when the best time to be vaccinated is for you.
Higher percentages are better.