IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - You've been warned about the flu over and over, but what about pneumonia? Doctors say it's something people haven't thought about this winter season.
Eastern Idaho Medical Center Hospitalist, Patrick Snarr said people should pay attention to a wet cough. chest pain, chills and shakes, which could be the first warning signs of pneumonia. Snarr said the problem is, many people mistake the symptoms for a mild flu.
He said even though multiple viruses and bacteria can cause pneumonia, the flu is the No. 1 contributor. Health experts say it is easily contagious, so washing your hands is the best form of defense.
Experts said many people are under-educated about the virus and people should know it can be deadly if not treated properly.
"The flu virus that is causing pneumonia is extremely serious and we have quite a few people in the hospital. They have to be hospitalized because if the did not, they would not make it by themselves in an outpatient community setting," said Snarr.
Doctors said if symptoms last for more than a day or two and get worse, it's best to see a doctor a soon as possible. The Center for Disease Control reports, almost 4 percent of hospital deaths are from pneumonia.