Pneumonia | American Lung Association


Woman sick with pneumonia at home on couch.

Pneumonia can cause a cough, fever, chills, and trouble breathing.

Pneumonia is a common lung infection caused by germs. It's often a complication of the flu, but other viruses, bacteria and even fungi can cause pneumonia. Anyone can get pneumonia, but some people are more at risk than others. Pneumonia and its symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Treatment depends on the cause of your pneumonia, how severe your symptoms are, and your age and overall health. Most healthy people recover from pneumonia in one to three weeks, but it can be life-threatening. The good news is that pneumonia can be prevented—by getting an annual flu shot (as flu often leads to pneumonia), frequently washing your hands, and for people at high risk, getting a vaccine for pneumococcal pneumonia. Learn about causes and symptoms of pneumonia, how pneumonia is treated, ways to prevent pneumonia and more in this section.

Learn About Pneumonia

Pneumonia an infection in one or both of your lungs caused by germs. It can be spread by coughing, sneezing or even breathing. Understand what pneumonia is, get facts about pneumonia, learn how it affects your lungs and find out how serious it is.

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Pneumonia Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors

Pneumonia, which is commonly a complication of a respiratory infection—especially the flu—often causes cough, fever, chills and shortness of breath. Learn about the five main causes of pneumonia, additional symptoms and risk factors that increase your chances of getting pneumonia.

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Diagnosing and Treating Pneumonia

Find out how your doctor diagnoses pneumonia, learn about treatment options and recovery, which depend on the type of pneumonia you have and how severe it is, and understand if you are at risk for complications from pneumonia.

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Preventing Pneumonia

Pneumonia can be prevented. See how you can reduce your risk of getting pneumonia by following a few simple steps, including getting vaccinated and good health habits. 

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Pneumonia

Here are five important questions to ask your doctor about pneumonia.

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