Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Pneumonia: Reducing Your Risk

    Getting pneumonia after surgery can be quite serious. According to the CDC, studies have suggested that pneumonia acquired in the hospital can be fatal as often as 33% of the time. Your doctor will help advise on ways to protect yourself but here are some steps you can take.

    • Follow your doctor's instructions about not eating or drinking before surgery. Usually, your doctor will tell you not to eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery. You must follow that advice. If you're going under anesthesia and still have food in your stomach, fluid or vomit may back up and get into your lungs. This can lead to one type of pneumonia called aspiration pneumonia. Happily, just following your doctor's advice greatly reduces the risk.
    • Ask everyone -- family, friends, doctors, and nurses -- to wash their hands. Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria and some viruses. So you need to make sure that people who touch you aren't transmitting any nasty germs.
    • Ask when you can start moving around. Lying flat on your back for a long time can increase your risk of developing pneumonia. So find out when it's safe for you to start sitting up and walking around.
    • Do breathing exercises. Try taking 10-15 big, deep breaths each hour. You may also use an incentive spirometer to check your lung function.
    • Stop smoking. Quitting smoking has many health advantages, of course. But if you are unable to completely quit, stop for at least a week or two prior to surgery. Giving your lungs a break will make them stronger and lower your risk of pneumonia.

     

    Recommended Related to Lung Disease/Respiratory Problems

    Coronavirus

    A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous. Some types of them are serious, though. More than 475 people have died from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which first appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and then in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In April 2014, the first American was hospitalized for MERS in Indiana and another case was reported in Florida. Both had...

    Read the Coronavirus article > >

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on April 22, 2016
    Next Article:

    Which hospital risk concerns you most?