Pneumonia affects over 3 million people each year in the United States. It can occur at any stage although some people in certain age groups are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. It is caused by micro organisms including viruses, bacteria and fungi. Some people contract pneumonia by breathing droplets of organisms directly into the lungs.

These organisms get into the air when a person infected by pneumonia coughs or sneezes (community acquired pneumonia). Once inside they settle in the air sacs and passages and gradually develop in numbers causing the filling of the airs sacs with fluids and pus as the body fights off the infection. Pneumonia can also be contracted when bacteria and viruses living inside the mouth and nose enter the lungs especially during sleep when people tend to aspirate body secretions. Though the body’s immune system will try to prevent pneumonia developing this way, people whose immune system has been compromised by other diseases may develop severe pneumonia.

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