On pneumococcal disease—and vaccination—awareness

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This is a sponsored post in partnership with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

When I was in fourth grade, I was the only one in my class who could spell pneumonia. I clearly recall my teacher standing at the front of the class, carefully writing out P N E U M O N I A on the chalkboard then asking the rapt students who knew what the word was. No one raised a hand… so I did.

I did indeed know the word because I was, in fact, the reason my teacher had written it on the board. He resourcefully used my return from an extended absence—due to pneumonia—as a lesson on a wacky word that not only began with a silent P, but boasted an abundance of vowels.

That wasn’t the first time I’d had pneumonia. I had suffered a serious bout at 18 months, though I naturally don’t recall that time. I do recall the three…

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