As previously reported in this space the flu is really tearing a hole through school and work attendance in SWLA. As well a troubling companion to flu is also knocking down otherwise healthy citizens: pneumonia.

According to local doctors pneumonia, often a companion to flu is rising in case loads over the past few weeks.  It's an infection in your lungs that will cause mild to severe illness and in the very young or old can become fatal.  Pneumonia is characterized by fever, chills, cough and shortness of breath.

Pneumonia often accompanies flu because while your resistance is low, pneumonia has a better chance of finding you.  For diagnosis you'll need a chest x-ray and lab work and if it's present you'll get a Rx for anti-biotics.  With bacterial pneumonia you ought to stop being contagious after about 24-48 hours.

Worldwide pneumonia causes more death in children younger than five than any other disease.  To help prevent pneumonia, wash your hands, make sure you're up to date on vaccinations and other medicines and stop any other habit that may potentially damage your lungs.