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Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of the lungs. Many germs, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, can cause pneumonia. You can also get pneumonia by inhaling a liquid or chemical. People most at risk are older than 65 or younger than 2 years of age, or already have health problems.
Symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe. See your doctor promptly if you
- Have a high fever
- Have shaking chills
- Have a cough with phlegm that doesn't improve or gets worse
- Develop shortness of breath with normal daily activities
- Have chest pain when you breathe or cough
- Feel suddenly worse after a cold or the flu
Your doctor will use your medical history, a physical exam, and lab tests to diagnose pneumonia. Treatment depends on what kind you have. If bacteria are the cause, antibiotics should help. If you have viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine to treat it.
Preventing pneumonia is always better than treating it. Vaccines are available to prevent pneumococcal pneumonia and the flu. Other preventive measures include washing your hands frequently and not smoking.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Diagnosis and Tests
- How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed? (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
Prevention and Risk Factors
- How Can Pneumonia Be Prevented? (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Pneumonia Can Be Prevented -- Vaccines Can Help (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Top 9 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Pneumonia If You or a Loved One Is Hospitalized (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology)
Treatments and Therapies
- How Is Pneumonia Treated? (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Petroleum Jelly: Safe for a Dry Nose? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Adenoviruses (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Bronchiolitis Obliterans with Organizing Pneumonia (BOOP) (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Frequently Asked Questions about Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- MedlinePlus: Pneumococcal Infections (National Library of Medicine)
- MedlinePlus: Pneumocystis Infections (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Pneumococcal Pneumonia (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)
- What Is Walking Pneumonia? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Genetics Home Reference: autosomal recessive hyper-IgE syndrome (National Library of Medicine)
Statistics and Research
- FastStats: Pneumonia (National Center for Health Statistics)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Streptococcus pyogenes Pneumonia in Adults: Clinical Presentation and Molecular Characterization...
- Article: Pediatric in-Hospital Death from Infectious Disease in Uganda: Derivation of...
- Article: Antibiotics for preventing suppurative complications from undifferentiated acute respiratory infections...
- Pneumonia -- see more articles
- What Are the Lungs? (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Aspiration pneumonia Also in Spanish
- Atypical pneumonia Also in Spanish
- Hospital-acquired pneumonia Also in Spanish
- Mycoplasma pneumonia Also in Spanish
- Pneumonia Also in Spanish
- Pneumonia - adults - discharge Also in Spanish
- Pneumonia - children - discharge Also in Spanish
- Viral pneumonia Also in Spanish