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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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    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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