Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, needlessly affects millions of people worldwide each year. Pneumonia can often be prevented and can usually be treated. Lower your risk of pneumonia with vaccines and other healthy living practices.
Each year in the United States, about 1 million people have to seek care in a hospital due to pneumonia. Unfortunately, about 50,000 people die from the disease each year in the United States. Most of the people affected by pneumonia in the United States are adults. Vaccines and appropriate treatment (like antibiotics and antivirals) could prevent many of these deaths.
Lower Your Risk with Vaccines
In the United States, vaccines can help prevent infection by some of the bacteria and viruses that can cause pneumonia:
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
Pertussis (whooping cough)
These vaccines are safe, but side effects can occur. Most side effects are mild and go away on their own within a few days. See the vaccine information statements for each vaccine to learn more about the most common side effects.
Encourage friends and loved ones to make sure they are up to date with their vaccines.
Get a dose of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) first. Then get a dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) at least 1 year later.
If you’ve already received PPSV23, get PCV13 at least 1 year after receipt of the most recent PPSV23 dose.
If you’ve already received a dose of PCV13 at a younger age, CDC does not recommend another dose.
Protect Your Health with These Healthy Living Practices
Try to stay away from sick people. If you are sick, stay away from others as much as possible to keep from getting them sick. You can also help prevent respiratory infections by:
Washing your hands regularly
Cleaning surfaces that are touched a lot
Coughing or sneezing into a tissue or into your elbow or sleeve
Limiting contact with cigarette smoke or quitting smoking
Managing ongoing medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease)
Pneumonia Affects the Young and Old
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages. Common signs of pneumonia can include cough, fever, and trouble breathing.
Some People Are More Likely to Get Pneumonia
Certain people are more likely to get pneumonia:
Adults 65 years or older
Children younger than 5 years old
People who have ongoing medical conditions
People who smoke cigarettes
A picture of a chest x-ray of an adult patient with pneumonia
Chest x-ray of an adult patient with pneumonia
Causes and Types of Pneumonia
Viruses, bacteria, and fungi can all cause pneumonia. In the United States, common causes of viral pneumonia are influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). A common cause of bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). However, clinicians are not always able to find out which germ caused someone to get sick with pneumonia.
Community-acquired pneumonia is when someone develops pneumonia in the community (not in a hospital). Healthcare-associated pneumonia is when someone develops pneumonia during or following a stay in a healthcare facility. Healthcare facilities include hospitals, long-term care facilities, and dialysis centers. Ventilator-associated pneumonia is when someone gets pneumonia after being on a ventilator, a machine that supports breathing. The bacteria and viruses that most commonly cause pneumonia in the community are different from those in healthcare settings.