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Pneumococcal pneumonia is serious.

Pneumonia is an infection in your lungs. There are many types of pneumonia, and the most common type of bacterial pneumonia is called pneumococcal pneumonia. The bacteria that causes pneumococcal pneumonia can be spread by airborne droplets when coughing or sneezing, or exchanged through close contact.

Symptoms can develop quickly and may include fever, chills, and chest pain with difficulty breathing. And certain symptoms, such as cough and fatigue, can last for weeks. In severe cases, it can even put you in the hospital and sometimes lead to death.

An important thing to remember is that risk increases with age. Are you 50 or older? Even if you’re healthy, active, and take good care of yourself, you could be at increased risk for pneumococcal pneumonia.

Don’t confuse your symptoms for something less serious.

Pneumonia is not a cold or the flu. Symptoms such as fatigue, chest pain, and difficulty breathing can appear without warning and can be severe. And certain symptoms, such as cough and fatigue, may last for weeks, or longer.

In some cases, pneumococcal pneumonia can lead to hospitalization and be life-threatening. So it’s the kind of illness that you shouldn’t ignore.

Even healthy adults 50 and older are at increased risk.

Sometimes lifestyle and health factors, including smoking and chronic conditions such as COPD, asthma, and diabetes, may increase your risk for 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, if you’re 50 or over, you may be at increased risk.

In fact, it has been estimated that a quarter of a million Americans over 50 are hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia each year.

Pneumococcal pneumonia is caused by a common bacteria that can be spread from person to person through a cough or sneeze.

Overview

Symptoms and Severity

Risk and Transmission

Understand Your Risk

Your Risk Assessment

While some health and lifestyle factors may increase your risk for 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 50 or over, you may be at increased risk.

Answer these three questions to learn more about your risk.

About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education, and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; to improve the air we breathe; to defeat lung cancer; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA
(1-800-586-4872)
or visit: Lung.org.

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