Elizabeth, 25, SYDNEYHospitalised with pneumonia in October, 2011, then 20-year-old Elizabeth became breathless, weak, developed a stomping headache and felt extremely lethargic.

Recognising she had a virus, and struggling to breathe, Elizabeth visited hospital, where she subsequently diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs via X-ray.

The now media coordinator spent three months recovering from the often fatal infection.

This is Elizabeth’s story.

“I caught a cold, or a virus from a friend, that became worse and worse, leaving me feeling really exhausted and lethargic,” Elizabeth said.

“It really hit me one day when I was driving home from university, and I began to feel very unwell, like I just couldn’t go on.”

Upon arriving home, Elizabeth sat in her car for close to 20 minutes, unable to muster sufficient energy to get out of her car and enter her home.

“At that point in time, I realised it was more than just a bad cold, particularly given my breathing had become restricted, which was very frightening. So I went straight to hospital,” said Elizabeth.

After arriving at hospital, Elizabeth undertook chest X-rays, which confirmed a diagnosis of pneumonia in both lungs.

She remained in hospital for the following week, under strict medical supervision, and treatment that involved IV-infused antibiotics.

“When I was in hospital, it was like a blur. I was so out of it, and I believe people came to visit me, but I can’t recall spending much time with anyone,” Elizabeth said.

Regrettably, Elizabeth reacted adversely to her antibiotic treatment, so was placed on anti-nausea medication to control the side-effects.

“My mum had pneumonia when I was very young, so I knew it was a severe respiratory infection, but I didn’t ever think I would experience such an illness.

“Before contracting pneumonia, I mistakenly thought only old people were at risk of it, and died from it.

“It didn’t even cross my mind that I would contract such a severe episode of the illness, and end up in hospital from it,” Elizabeth said.

Fortunately for Elizabeth, she has not experienced any long-term health complications due to her pneumonia, despite mounting a three-month-long recovery from the illness.

“When I left the hospital, the doctors told me to do very little, and just to rest.

“I saw a doctor every fortnight post- hospitalisation for six weeks before he gave me the all-clear to return to my normal life. It took me three months to full recover from the infection,” said Elizabeth.

“It was really tough being sick, particularly socially, because I was so tired and exhausted all the time.                 The illness really wore me out.”

For Elizabeth, her pneumonia diagnosis came as a complete shock, given she was so young, had no pre-existing respiratory problems, and was a non-smoker.

Unaware, up until recently, that a vaccine was available for pneumococcal pneumonia, Elizabeth plans to vaccine against the potentially life-threatening infection, when she qualifies for such, in the future.

“When I become eligible for the free pneumococcal vaccine in the future, I will definitely have it. If I was medically at-risk of the infection, I also wouldn’t hesitate, because the infection is often fatal.”