Pneumonia is an infection deep in the small airways and air sacs of the lungs. The infection will make the air sacs swell and fill with fluid or pus. This causes intense coughing. It will also be hard to breathe.
Types of pneumonia include:
This article will focus on community-acquired pneumonia.
Pneumonia is caused by a germ in the air that you breathe. Germs that most often cause community-acquired pneumonia include:
Pneumonia is more common in older adults. Other factors that may increase the chances of pneumonia:
Health conditions that may increase the risk of community-acquired pneumonia include:
Other environmental factors include:
Pneumonia may cause:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may suspect pneumonia based on symptoms and lung sounds.
Pictures of the lungs may be taken to confirm the diagnosis or check on pneumonia that is not going away. Pictures may be taken with:
Your doctor may need to know the exact germ that is causing the problem. This step may be needed if there is a severe infection. The germ can be tested through:
Treatment will be based on what may have caused the pneumonia. More support may be needed if there is a severe infection. A hospital stay may be needed if it becomes difficult to breathe.
Medicine can help to fight some infections:
Other medicine may help to manage symptoms:
Severe infections can make it hard for oxygen to get into the body. Oxygen may be given to improve levels in the blood.
Vaccines may help to prevent certain pneumonia:
Steps that may decrease the risk for any respiratory infection include:
American Lung Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Public Health Agency of Canada
The Lung Association
Blasi F, Aliberti S, Pappalettera M, Tarsia P. 100 years of respiratory medicine: pneumonia. Respir Med. 2007;101(5):875-881.
Community-acquired pneumonia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115170/Community-acquired-pneumonia-in-adults. Accessed January 29, 2021.
De Roux A, Marcos MA, Garcia E, et al. Viral community-acquired pneumonia in non-immunocompromised adults. Chest. 2004;125(4):1343-1351.
Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Niederman MS. Recent advances in community-acquired pneumonia inpatient and outpatient. Chest. 2007;131(4):1205-1215.
Niederman MS. Review of treatment guidelines for community-acquired pneumonia. Am J Med. 2004;117:Suppl 3A:51S-57S.
Pneumonia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/pneumonia. Accessed January 29, 2021.
2/3/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116217/Allergic-rhinitis: Rantala A, Jaakkola JJ, Jaakkola MS. Respiratory infections in adults with atopic disease and IgE antibodies to common aeroallergens. PLoS One. 2013;8(7):e68582.
Last reviewed March 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP Last Updated: 1/29/2021