Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - 38

38

Fact or Fiction

THE TRUTH ABOUT

UNDERSTAND THE RISKS OF
THIS SERIOUS LUNG INFECTION
AND HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

BY JOSH JARMANNING

With the COVID-19
pandemic dominating
the news this year and
changing our daily lives drastically,
there has been an increased focus
on lung health.
That's why it's important to take a
closer look at pneumonia, one of the
possible complications of COVID-19.
Pneumonia can also be caused by a
variety of other viruses and bacteria.
Symptoms of pneumonia vary, but
the most common are cough (which
might produce greenish or yellow
mucus, or even bloody mucus),
fever, chills and shortness of breath.
"In a typical year in the U.S., about
1 million adults get pneumococcal
(bacterial) pneumonia, and as many
as 400,000 are hospitalized," says
William Schaffner, MD, a professor
of preventive medicine and medical
director of the National Foundation
for Infectious Diseases. "Five to 7 percent of those who are hospitalized will
die, with the death rate even higher
among those age 65 and older."
And that's just one type of
pneumonia-all told, pneumonia
causes more than 50,000 deaths
in a typical year, according to the
American Lung Association. Of
course, COVID-19 has only exacerbated those already dire statistics.

Here's what you need to know about
pneumonia so that you can better
protect yourself and your family.

Pneumonia is like a cold that
you can catch from others.

FICTION. You don't get pneumonia
from others, but you may have gotten
the germ that caused your pneumonia
from someone else. Pneumonia can
stem from a wide variety of sources,
including bacteria, viruses and even
some fungi and microorganisms.
The most common viral cause of
pneumonia is the seasonal flu.
The infection causes air sacs
in the lungs (alveoli) to become
inflamed and fill with fluid or pus,
Schaffner says. "That can make it
hard for the oxygen you breathe to
get into your bloodstream," he says,
and it puts your whole body at risk.

Only older people have to
worry about pneumonia.

FICTION. While individuals ages
65 and older are at greater risk of
complications from pneumonia,
Schaffner says people need to be
aware of many other risk factors.
"Certain chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, lung
disease, diabetes or other conditions
that weaken the immune system,

When lungs are severely
damaged and need time to
recover, a heart-lung machine
can save a person's life.
UVA Health has used this
machine (known as ECMO, or
extracorporeal membrane
oxygenation) since 1991 to help
people of all ages, including
some who were diagnosed in
recent months with COVID-19.
For this lifesaving care, UVA
has earned the Extracorporeal
Life Support Organization's
Platinum Level Center of
Excellence Award. Fewer than
30 hospitals worldwide have
earned this award, the international group's highest honor.
"This award highlights teamwork that stretches across UVA
Medical Center, including the
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
and Neonatal Intensive Care
Unit at UVA Children's, to provide excellent care for patients
of all ages," says UVA thoracic
and cardiovascular surgeon
Nicholas Teman, MD.

COVID Hits
Smokers
Especially Hard

Quitting smoking is the best
thing you can do for your lungs.
Now is the time to stop for good,
as smoking increases your risk
of complications from COVID-19.
Learn why at uvahealth.com/quit.

WINTER 2020 VIM & VIGOR

V1_VVWI2088_38-39_TheTruth.indd 38

10/26/20 11:34 AM

ILLUSTRATION BY GERALDINE SY/GOODILLUSTRATION.COM

Pneumonia

Award-Winning,
Lifesaving Care
for Severely
Damaged Lungs


http://www.uvahealth.com/quit

Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA

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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - Cover1
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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - Contents
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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - Cover4
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