Oprah Winfrey’s health scare has changed the way she views wellness. She recently revealed how serious her condition was

What she thought was a common cold landed her in the ER.

In an interview on The Ellen Show, Winfrey said, “I came back from overseas and I thought I had a cold, but it wasn’t’ a cold. I ended up in the emergency room and they said ‘You have pneumonia.’”

Her condition deteriorated

She was treated with antibiotics, but after a week they weren’t working.

She had to go back to hospital for a CT scan and learnt her condition had worsened.

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She was referred to a lung specialist. Winfrey, who says she normally works while she was sick, was told to cancel everything so she could recover. When she did recover, her specialist was so relieved that he hugged her!

She says that the experience has changed the way she looks at wellness.

Don’t play with it. Get your flu shots and your pneumonia shots – it’s nothing to play with, it takes people out,” said Winfrey.

Watch the featured videos to learn more about Winfrey’s recent illness.


What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a severe lung infection which causes the alveoli (microscopic air-filled sacs in the lungs, responsible for absorbing oxygen) to become inflamed and flooded with fluid. This makes proper breathing difficult and it can be life-threatening.

Symptoms include coughing, chest pain, fever and difficulty breathing, which are all symptoms similar to those experienced during common viral infections.

While pneumonia is often treated with antibiotics, common viral infections do not respond to antibiotics.

According to Prof Michael Moore, professor of Primary Care Research at the University of Southampton, it is notoriously difficult to tell one infection from the other.

GPs fail to spot two out of every three cases of pneumonia, although those which are missed are the milder ones with less distinctive features. One of the reasons GPs offer antibiotics is that they are rightly concerned about missing a serious illness,” said Prof Moore.

Prof Moore led research that found signs and symptoms that are more common in patients with pneumonia include:

  • Temperature higher than 37.8°C
  • A crackling sound in the patient’s lungs
  • A pulse rate of more than 100 beats per minute
  • Oxygen saturation in the blood lower than 95%

This means that testing for fever, high pulse rate, crackly breath sounds and low oxygen levels could be key to helping GPs distinguish pneumonia from less serious infections.

If you have these symptoms or would like to find out about a pneumonia vaccine, please speak to your preferred healthcare provider.


Sources: Sciencedaily.com, European Lung Foundation and The Ellen Show