I write this #WiseWordsWednesday blog entry with my mother-in-law in ICU on life support due to pneumonia. She is 81 and had a fracture from osteoporosis about 5 months ago. Healing a weakened bone is a major stress to the body and makes people more vulnerable to pneumonia. In fact, many conditions make you more vulnerable, such as: diabetes, lung disease, asthma, heart disease, inflammatory arthritis, being on immunosuppressant therapy and more. At any time, about one third of the patients in ICU are there because of pneumonia.
I urge you to receive Prevnar 13, the pneumonia vaccine, which lasts a minimum of 20 years and protects you from 13 of the most common strains of pneumonia. After eight weeks or more, a dose of Pneumovax is given which protects against another 10 strains. The pneumonia vaccines are not ‘live’ vaccines and therefore can be given while on a biologic treatment. Prevnar 13 is approved for age 18 years and older. Everyone over 65 is recommended to get this vaccine regardless of their health status. It is available at no charge if you are over 50 and on immunosuppressive treatment but certainly worth paying for regardless.
I wish my mother-in-law had taken my advice and been vaccinated!
Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.