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Pneumonia - 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.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.3, 4
  • Drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Recently had a cold or the flu.

You are more likely to have complications of pneumonia and need to go to the hospital if you:

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  • 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.
1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 06, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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