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Preventing Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of  the lungs. Those most at risk include the elderly, smokers, people with chronic lung diseases (such as emphysema or asthma) and those with weakened immune systems. The tips below may help you prevent pneumonia. Follow them and any guidelines from your health care provider.

Closeup of hands in sink with running water. Hands are covered with soap suds.Avoid Infection

  • Wash your hands often to keep from picking up germs.

  • Avoid touching your face and mouth with your hands.

  • Use disposable tissues instead of a handkerchief. Throw used tissues away.

  • Avoid people who have a cold or the flu.

  • Try to avoid crowded places.

Do Suggested Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing and coughing exercises can help clear your lungs. Your health care provider may suggest them. If so, you will be shown how to do them. Do them as often as your health care provider instructs.

Take Care of Your Body

  • Ask your health care provider whether you should increase your fluid intake. If so, drink at least  6–8 glasses of water a day.

  • Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol.

  • Don’t smoke. Avoid places where people are smoking.

  • Ask your health care provider whether you need a pneumonia vaccine or a yearly flu shot.

Balance Activity and Rest

  • Moving around helps keep your lungs clear. Ask your health care provider what type of activity is best for you. Walking is often a good choice.

  • Get enough rest. Sleep at least 8 hours each night. Rest or nap during the day as needed.


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