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Pneumonia is a serious infection of the lungs that causes the air sacs in the lungs to fill with pus and other liquid. The infection may be caused by any of the following causative agents: bacteria, virus, fungi, and mycoplasma. In general, pneumonia is divided into two types: community acquired or hospital or nursing home acquired.

Alveoli

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You may get pneumonia simply because you encounter an organism that you breathe into your lungs. Whether or not you get sick depends on the contagiousness of the organism, the number of organisms you inhaled, and the ability of your immune system to fight infections.

In the United States, pneumonia is a very common illness, especially among people who are elderly.

References

Explore pneumonia. National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI) website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu. Updated March 1, 2011. Accessed April 3, 2013.

Mandell LA, Wunderink RG, Anzueto A, et al. Infectious Diseases Society of America/American Thoracic Society consensus guidelines on the management of community-acquired pneumonia in adults. Clin Infect Dis. 2007;44 Suppl 2:S27-S72.

Koulenti D, Rello J. Hospital-acquired pneumonia in the 21st century: a review of existing treatment options and their impact on patient care. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2006;7:1555-1569.

Pneumonia symptoms diagnosis and treatment. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/pneumonia/symptoms-diagnosis-and.html. Accessed April 3, 2013.

Pneumonia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated March 25, 2013. Accessed April 3, 2013.

Pneumonia in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated March 18, 2013. Accessed April 3, 2013.

Niederman MS. Community-acquired pneumonia: management controversies, part 1; practical recommendations from the latest guidelines. J Respir Dis. 2002;23:10-17.

Last reviewed June 2013 by Brian Randall, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.