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Pneumococcal vaccine.


Pneumonia used to be called "the friend of the aged" in the days before antibiotics, because it was that which finally and quietly terminated life for many in die end stages of other diseases. In this antibiotic era, however, we are inclined not to give it the attention it still deserves.

Pneumococcal pneumonia accounts for 500,000 cases of the bacterial pneumonias seen in this country each year, and although it usually responds to antibiotics, it can be at worst fatal and at best a debilitating disease. Yet only 10-to-20 percent of those at greatest risk for developing the disease are given the vaccine, which is 90 percent effective and whose protection lasts 5-to-10 years. This high-risk group includes persons older than 65; those with such chronic health problems as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease, to name just three; health care workers or family members caring for the chronically ill; and children with such chronic pulmonary problems as asthma.

Reactions to the vaccine are minimal or, for many, non-occurring. If you are in any of the above groups, ask your doctor for the vaccine if he has not already offered it.
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Publication:Medical Update
Date:Mar 1, 1991
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