Winter has officially arrived, and the cooler weather makes us all a little more susceptible to getting sick. But it can be an especially dangerous time for older Californians.
Our immune systems weaken with age, leaving even those who are healthy and active at risk for a variety of illnesses including pneumonia.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin is on a campaign to bring awareness to the issue. She told California Life’s David Wylie it’s important that adults 65 and older not only get vaccinated, but that they know the symptoms, which can appear without warning.
Pneumonia is contagious and symptoms include fatigue, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. If left untreated, pneumonia can result in death.
Older African-Americans appear to be especially vulnerable to the illness.
“As African-Americans, we more frequently have chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension and strokes,” Dr. Benjamin said. “And so, those also weaken our systems and make us more susceptible, or at increased risk, for pneumococcal pneumonia.”
In addition to getting immunized, Dr. Benjamin says there are lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent getting sick.
Check out our story below to learn more!