ZocdocAnswersWhat causes pneumonia?

Question

What causes pneumonia?

Why do some people get pneumonia? My ex-wife has had it several tiems over the last few years, and I don't know what's causing it. Could it be that the old house she lives in is too damp and drafty?

Answer

Pneumonia can be a deadly infection and thus, any sign or symptom that you develop that are suspicious for it should be evaluated by a doctor right away. Pneumonia is an infection (bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic) within the lungs. Symptoms are fever, chills, chest pain, muscle aches, cough, shortness of breath, and loss of appetite. Physicians generally describe pneumonia as being either hospital acquired or community acquired. This is an important distinction because the type of infection is different depending on where you caught the pneumonia. If she has been getting sick at home, then most likely she is catching pneumonia from contact with someone else who is harboring the infection. If she smokes, she may be more prone to getting the infection. Damp, drafty houses have not been proven to be associated with pneumonia, but it certainly doesn't help. I suggest that you discuss this issue with your primary care physician at your next visit. The first step is to make sure that you are up to date with your pneumonia vaccine. This helps prevent complications from the most common type of community acquired pneumonia. The second step is to make sure you are doing everything else to prevent transmission. This means frequently washing your hands, keeping clear of people who are sick, not smoking, and getting a yearly flu vaccine. Good luck.

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