How Can I Prevent Chronic Lung Infection?
Prevention of chronic lung infections includes avoiding behaviors that increase risk, immunizations, and societal adjustments.
Address Behaviors That Increase Risk of Chronic Lung Infections
- Quit smoking: If necessary, there is medication that can suppress the dopamine (reward neurotansmitter) that is released with smoking (varenicline–Chantix)
- Avoid drug abuse: Especially intravenous abuse of illicit substances
- Strict glycemic control: If diabetic
- Avoid toxic environments (e.g., smoky entertainment venues, leaf-burning, etc)
Immunization for influenza and pneumococcus are the most important preventive strategies in prevention of pneumonia, especially for those cloistered in institutionalized settings. Other immunizations for infectious agents that can play a role in chronic lung infections include those for varicella and Haemophilus influenzae.
A person at risk for recurrent or chronic lung infections should live in a smoke-free environment, including at home. Exposure to dander or other allergens should be limited. Inhalation of airborne particles that can lodge in the lungs of those with mucociliary compromise should be avoided (e.g., changing cat litter).
In institutionalized settings, family members of residents should not hesitate to ask administration about infection rates or for accreditation results.
Persons with swallowing or gag reflex abnormalities are in constant danger of micro aspiration, requiring physical therapy and heightened vigilance.
CPAP masks should be used in cases of sleep apnea.