What Increases Your Risk
You are more likely to get pneumonia if you:
- Smoke. Cigarette smoking is the strongest risk factor for pneumonia in healthy young people.Reference 2
- Have another medical condition, especially lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma.
- Are younger than 1 year of age or older than 65.
- Have an impaired immune system.
- Take medicine called a proton pump inhibitor (such as Prilosec or Protonix) that reduces the amount of stomach acid.Reference 3, Reference 4
- Drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Recently had a cold or the flu.
You are more likely to have Reference complications of pneumonia and may need to go to the hospital if you:
- Are older than 65.
- Have some other illness (such as COPD, diabetes, or asthma), or have gone to the hospital for a medical problem within the last 3 months.
- Have had your spleen removed or do not have a working spleen (such as in sickle cell disease).
- Have an alcohol use problem.
- Have a weak immune system.
- Reside in a place where people live close together, such as a college dorm or nursing home.