There are many types of pneumonia, and the most common type of bacterial pneumonia is called pneumococcal pneumonia. Pneumococcal pneumonia is caused by bacteria that live in the upper respiratory tract, and can be spread through coughing.

Common symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia include high fever, excessive sweating and shaking chills, coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and chest pain. Certain symptoms, such as cough and fatigue, can appear without warning and may last for weeks, or longer. In severe cases, it can even put you in the hospital and sometimes lead to death.

If you're 65 and older, even if you're healthy and active and take good care of yourself, you could be at increased risk for pneumococcal pneumonia. Some risk factors, including smoking, and chronic conditions such as COPD, asthma, and diabetes, may also increase your risk for pneumococcal pneumonia.

Understand Your Risk

Your Risk Assessment

While some health and lifestyle factors may increase your risk of getting pneumococcal pneumonia, an important risk factor in adults is age—due in large part to the natural, age-related decline of the immune system. Even if you are active and otherwise healthy, an important thing to remember is: If you're 65 or over, you may be at increased risk.

Your Risk Assessment

Answer these three questions to learn more about your risk.

Pneumococcal pneumonia is a potentially serious disease you shouldn't ignore. Pneumococcal pneumonia can strike anytime, anywhere. Even if you have previously been vaccinated for pneumococcal disease, the CDC may recommend additional vaccination.

Developed by the American Lung Association in partnership with Pfizer Inc.

The health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with a healthcare provider. All decisions regarding patient care must be made with a healthcare provider, considering the unique characteristics of the patient. The American Lung Association does not endorse products, devices or services. This content is intended only for U.S. residents.

Page last updated: February 27, 2020

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