Q: HOW CAN I ENSURE GOOD LUNG HEALTH
FOR MY FAMILY AND MYSELF?
A: Getting a flu shot every year can help prevent
pneumonia. Pneumonia vaccinations are also recommended
for those 2 years old and under and those
over 65. Talk with your doctor to see if you or your
child is a candidate for an age-specific vaccination.
Also, keep your immune system strong during the
winter months by getting exercise, enough sleep and
eating a healthy diet. And if you are a smoker, quit
now! Valley Health offers free resources to assist
those who wish to quit; learn more at valleyhealth
link.com/quitsmoking. Finally, cover your cough
and wash your hands frequently!
Q: WHAT STEPS CAN THOSE WITH LUNG
DISEASE TAKE TO STAY HEALTHIER?
A: Those with chronic lung disease should work with
a pulmonologist and their respiratory therapist colleagues
to evaluate and monitor lung function with
tests that measure lung size, capacity and airflow,
and develop a smoking cessation plan for smokers.
These patients should “know their numbers” for lung
function and have a plan in place and adequate medication,
inhalers and oxygen on hand to address and
manage breathing problems. Being prepared is especially
important if inclement weather is predicted.
→ Visit valleyhealthlink.com/pulmonology to learn
more about respiratory care at Valley Health.
Pulmonologists diagnose and treat diseases of the lungs,
such as asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease), sleep apnea, and others. In the winter, they are
frequently on the front lines in treating pneumonia, a
common aftereffect of colds and flu. Christian LaFalce,
MD, FCCP, Valley Health Pulmonary Specialists, answers
frequently asked questions on how to breathe easier
during flu season.
Q: WHAT CAUSES PNEUMONIA AND WHY DO WE HEAR MORE
ABOUT IT DURING THE WINTER MONTHS?
A: Pneumonia is an infection in the air sacs in the lungs called alveoli
caused by cold or flu viruses and bacteria. These germs are spread more
easily in the winter season because we are inside and in close quarters.
Pneumonia’s symptoms include chest pain when you breathe, cough,
fatigue, fever, and shortness of breath. Most healthy people make a quick
recovery with treatment from their primary care provider; however,
pneumonia can be serious in those over 65 or under 2 and for smokers and
those with lung disease and/or immune system disorders.
W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 5
“ Keep your immune system strong
during the winter months by getting
exercise, enough sleep and eating a
healthy diet. And if you are a smoker,
quit now! ” —
CHRISTIAN LAFALCE, MD, FCCP