Stop Smoking

Smoking irritates your lungs and interferes with the normal defenses that protect you against infection. If you stop smoking, your lungs will gradually heal themselves. Your doctor can recommend programs or nicotine replacement systems that can help you stop smoking.

Use Precautions to Avoid Infections

Here are some basic steps to help you avoid infection and keep your lungs healthy:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid being near people who are ill.
  • Avoid exposure to toxic or damaging fumes; exposure to gases, chemicals, air pollution, and secondhand smoke can irritate your lungs and make them more vulnerable to infection.
  • Eat a healthful, nutritious diet. Maintaining good nutrition helps keep your immune system strong.
  • Get appropriate exercise. In general, getting appropriate exercise can help keep your immune system functioning optimally.
  • Don’t use intravenous drugs. Use of illegal intravenous drugs may increase your risk of contracting pneumonia, as well as other infectious diseases.

Get Vaccinated

Two types of vaccines can be particularly helpful at protecting you against developing pneumonia:

Influenza vaccine is given every Fall. It protects you against the types of influenza that are predicted to be in your community that coming winter. You should get the flu shot yearly because having influenza puts you at a high risk of developing pneumonia.

Pneumococcal vaccine is usually needed only once in a lifetime. However, people with a weakened immune system or certain chronic illnesses may later need a booster shot. The vaccine protects you against the pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae .

People with chronic medical conditions, or who have no spleen, are particularly encouraged to take advantage of these vaccinations.