Pneumonia is an infection deep in your lungs. The infection involves the small air sacs in your lungs (alveoli). Pneumonia is different from infection of the air passages (bronchi) in your lungs. Infection of the air passages is called bronchitis.
You usually cough up mucus
You have chest pain, chills, fever, or trouble breathing
Your symptoms can be very mild (sometimes called "walking pneumonia") or very serious
Symptoms are often worse in young children, older people, and people with other lung problems such as COPD
Most people recover, but pneumonia can be fatal
Every year, about 60,000 people in the United States die from pneumonia.
Pneumonia can be caused by many different types of germs, including:
Usually, the germs are passed from one person to another. If you touch something that has germs on it, the germs can get in your mouth, nose, or throat. Usually, your body fights off the germs. But sometimes the germs get in your lungs and cause an infection.
Anyone can get pneumonia, but it's more likely if you have a weakened immune system because you are:
Other risk factors for pneumonia include:
Symptoms may be a little different in people who are very old:
Doctors treat your pneumonia with:
You may need a chest x-ray about 6 weeks after treatment to make sure the pneumonia is gone, especially if you smoke or are older.
Most people can stay home during treatment. Some people may stay in the hospital, including people who:
If you smoke, stop smoking.
Get a yearly flu vaccine (shot), because having the flu can lead to pneumonia. Ask your doctor whether you also need a pneumonia vaccine, which is recommended for: