Improving Lung Health Through Who Pneu?, a Pneumococcal Pneumonia Awareness Campaign, on World Pneumonia Day

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World Pneumonia Day on November 12 is a yearly reminder of this serious, potentially life-threatening lung infection. The American Lung Association and its Who Pneu? campaign shares more about the lung infection in partnership with Pfizer.

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This pneumonia is a big deal. If I would have known there was something that I could have done to help prevent this, I would have asked my doctor about it.

World Pneumonia Day—Saturday, November 12—is a yearly reminder that pneumonia, including pneumococcal pneumonia, can strike anywhere and anytime. Through the Who Pneu?TM pneumococcal pneumonia awareness campaign, the American Lung Association, in partnership with Pfizer, shares the seriousness of this potentially life-threatening lung infection.

Pneumonia is primarily caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi that are transmitted from one person to another. The most common type of bacterial pneumonia is pneumococcal pneumonia.1 Adults over 50 years of age are at eight times greater risk of being hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia compared to younger adults, with an average hospital stay of six days.

The Who Pneu? campaign shares the real-life story of Pam who was hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia. “In March of 2015, all of a sudden I just didn’t feel right. I started coughing a lot, I got more and more short of breath, I was shaking,” recounts Pam, age 51. “My symptoms were devastating. I felt like I couldn’t breathe.”

Common symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia include high fever, excessive sweating, shaking chills, coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and chest pain.1 Certain symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia including cough and fatigue, may last for weeks, or longer.1 Every year, thousands of adults in the United States still suffer serious illness, are hospitalized or even die from diseases for which vaccines are available. Rates of vaccination among U.S. adults remain low—lagging well behind expert recommendations and federal goals.

“I was rushed to the hospital and the infectious disease doctor said, ‘Pam, you have pneumococcal pneumonia. If you would’ve waited two more days, you would have died.” Pam said, “This pneumonia is a big deal. If I would have known there was something that I could have done to help prevent this, I would have asked my doctor about it.”

Visit to see Pam’s story and take an online risk assessment, or call 1-800-LUNGUSA for more information about pneumococcal pneumonia.


About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

American Lung Association • 55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150 • Chicago, IL 60601
1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872)

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Pneumococcal disease. In: Hamborsky J, Kroger A, Wolfe C, eds. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (The Pink Book). 13th ed. Washington DC: Public Health Foundation; 2015:279-296. Accessed June 5, 2015.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumococcal Disease. Symptoms & Complications. Updated June 6, 2013. Accessed May 11, 2015.
3 World Health Organization (WHO). Pneumonia fact sheet. Fact sheet N°331. Reviewed November 2013. Available at: Updated November 2014. Retrieved September 2015.
4 Jain S, Self WH, Wunderink RG, et al. CDC EPIC Study Team. Community-acquired pneumonia requiring hospitalization among US adults. N Engl J Med 2015;373(5):415-427
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fast stats: pneumonia. Accessed November 5, 2013.
6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine Information for Adults. Why Vaccines are Important for You. Updated March 26, 2014. Accessed October 7, 2014
7 Williams WW, Lu PJ, O'Halloran A, et al. Vaccination coverage among adults, excluding influenza vaccination — United States, 2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015;64(4):95-102.

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Allison MacMunn

Allison MacMunn
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