The flu is a highly contagious and prevalent virus during the winter season. Symptoms include headache, fever, chills, sore throat, congestion and muscle aches. Pneumonia can develop as a complication from the flu. Pneumonia is a serious infection or inflammation of the lungs.
Symptoms of pneumonia include fever, wheezing, cough, chills, rapid breathing, chest pains, loss of appetite and general malaise. People with suppressed immunity are at the greatest risk of contracting the flu and pneumonia. Those groups include the very old, the very young, those with chronic disease, and people taking medication that affects the immune system.
Because both illnesses cause many deaths every year, it has become a national health objective to increase vaccination levels, particularly among the elderly. The pneumococcal vaccine protects against 23 strains of pneumococcal bacteria, but is less effective in high-risk groups.
Clinical trials are investigating new vaccines that will increase effectiveness in the higher risk groups of our population.