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Bronchiectasis is often caused by recurrent inflammation or infection of the airways. It most often begins in childhood as a complication from infection or inhaling a foreign object.

Cystic fibrosiscauses about a third of all bronchiectasis cases in the United States. Certain genetic conditions can also cause bronchiectasis, including primary ciliary dyskinaesia and immunodeficiency syndromes.

The condition can also be caused by routinely breathing in food particles while eating.

© 2011 A.D.A.M., Inc.

Pneumococcal pneumonia: Are you at risk?

Pneumonia due to pneumococcal infection can be a serious disease, especially for people with chronic lung disease (chronic asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema).

Having a chronic lung disease, such as chronic asthma or COPD, makes it harder for your body to clear respiratory infections, like pneumococcal pneumonia.

The National Immunisation Guidelines recommend vaccination against pneumococcal disease if you have chronic lung disease.

Lungs and pneumococcal pneumonia infection

Pneumococcal pneumonia is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria can be found in the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat and windpipe) of healthy people; and can be spread between people through infected droplets in the air and by touching an infected person.

Some people, including those with certain underlying conditions such as chronic asthma, COPD or emphysema are at a higher risk of contracting pneumococcal disease than the rest of the population. In adults, pneumococcal bacteria most commonly cause pneumococcal pneumonia.

Pneumococcal pneumonia is a lung infection and symptoms can include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.

In addition to pneumonia, pneumococcal bacteria can cause a range of diseases including meningitis (infection of the membranes that enclose the brain and spinal cord), septicaemia/bacteraemia (blood system infection) and middle ear and sinus infections.

Reducing your risk of pneumococcal pneumonia

Below are some ways to help reduce your risk of pneumococcal pneumonia, including healthy lifestyle measures:

  • Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination. National Immunisation Guidelines recommend pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination for people with chronic lung disease (this includes people with chronic asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema).
  • A healthy diet and exercise. Eating a healthy diet and getting the right amount of exercise may help you fight off infection, including from pneumococcal bacteria.
  • Reducing alcohol intake. Reducing your alcohol intake may help reduce your risk of pneumococcal pneumonia infection, especially if you consume a lot of alcohol on a regular basis.
  • Stopping smoking. If you currently smoke, stopping smoking will help reduce your risk of pneumococcal pneumonia infection.

The above advice is general advice only. Only your doctor can advise you on what’s right for you and your condition.

To find out more about pneumococcal pneumonia, click here to complete an “Are you at risk?” Checklist.

Additional information can also be found here.

Speak to your doctor today about ways to reduce your risk of pneumococcal pneumonia, including vaccination.

This article was provided by CSL Biotherapies Pty Ltd, 45 Poplar Road PARKVILLE, 3052.

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