An infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria is referred to as pneumococcal disease. Bacterial pneumonia (infection of the lungs) is a bad infection caused by these bacteria. Pneumococcal diseases include pneumonia, various types of ear infections, sinus infections, meningitis (infection of the covering around the brain and spinal cord), and bacteremia (blood stream infection). About 40% of people carry pneumococcal germs in their mouths and throats. In most healthy people, these germs do not cause any serious illnesses, as they are resistant to the bacteria.
The pneumonia vaccination is also referred to as pneumococcal immunization. This vaccine for pneumonia helps the immune system to identify and fight the germs that cause the diseases mentioned above. It is important to have oneself vaccinated with a pneumonia shot, as it protects the body from 23 strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae. The vaccine not only helps prevent pneumonia, but it also prevents serious conditions like bacteremia and meningitis. It helps prevent serious blood, brain, and lung infections from the bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Who should Take the Shot?
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) (brand name Pneumovax: reduces the risk of infection with 23 strains of pneumococcal disease bacteria) is given to people who have impaired immune system due to a disease. People above the age of 65, and people who have moved into a chronic care facility are also advised to take this vaccine. The injection is administered into the arm muscle (typically deltoid muscle), or into the tissue below the skin. This vaccine is normally given in the upper arm. Usually, one shot of the vaccine is sufficient, but people with high risk will need to take a second dose of the vaccine. The second shot needs to be taken only after three to five years after the first shot for pneumonia prevention. There are many factors which will decide if the booster shot is required. Avoiding the shot because a person has mild fever, cold, etc. is not recommended. In case the person is at risk, and does not know if he was vaccinated previously, he should get himself vaccinated without any further delay. Young children are also given this vaccine. Prevnar 13 pneumococcal vaccine (reduces the risk of infection caused by 13 strains of pneumococcal disease bacteria) is used to vaccinate infants.
Pneumonia Shot Allergic Reactions
Often people want to know about pneumonia shot side effects. The pneumonia vaccine is generally safe.
➺ There are some, who may experience a bit of soreness, redness, and swelling at the site, where the vaccine is taken. This soreness can last anywhere between one to three days.
➺ A very small number of people may get fever, general muscle pain, or headache. These symptoms are often seen soon after the pneumonia vaccine is given. They do not generally last for more than two days.
➺ Severe pneumonia shot reactions include a hard and sore lump at the place the vaccine is given.
➺ Although rare, due to a severe allergic reaction, the person may suffer from skin rashes and/or hives.
➺ Swelling of the throat, mouth, and face is also observed as a result of pneumonia vaccine allergic reaction.
➺ Some people may experience shortness of breath and/or rapid heartbeat. Some may suffer from pain in the muscles and joints, fatigue, headache, etc.
➺ There have been cases of a drop in blood pressure leading to loss of consciousness.
➺ If a person is known to suffer from drops in platelet count due to unidentified reasons, he may experience the same for a short period of time.
➺ Some people may display symptoms of anaphylactic shock, such as severe swelling and itching of the eyes or face, hives, hoarse voice, increased heartbeat, swelling beneath the skin, swollen glands, difficulty in swallowing and breathing, drowsiness, etc.
➺ A child may have an allergic reaction to pneumonia shot, and may display serious side effects like severe abdominal pain, severe vomiting, diarrhea, high fever, pale skin, rapid heartbeat, wheezing, breathing difficulty, seizure, easy bruising or bleeding, headache, fatigue, drowsiness, etc.
Usually, the side effects of pneumonia shots are mild, and subside on their own. In case of an allergic reaction, fever, or similar troublesome symptoms, the person should have a lot of fluids and should rest for a couple of days. He can talk to his health care provider, if he wants to take any medicine for the fever or pain. If the side effects last for five days or more, he should consult a physician. In case of a severe allergic reaction to a pneumonia shot, the person should be shifted to an emergency room. The health care professional or the physician who gave the vaccination should be immediately informed.
Do not ignore any of the severe symptoms of an allergic reaction. If a child / an adult had previously experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction to the shot, the physician should be provided with the details before taking the booster / next dose.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.