Anyone can get pneumonia. However, the following groups are at the highest risk of contracting pneumonia or experiencing complications:
Adults ages 65 and older (especially 80 and older) and children younger than 5.
Especially older adults living in communal settings (large or multiple-family households, assisted living facilities)
People who have chronic medical conditions, like diabetes or heart or lung disease.
People with weakened immune systems (cancer, transplant, autoimmune).
Risk management and prevention
Lowering the risk
Annual flu shot
Have a provider check any suspected complications with swallowing (aspiration can cause pneumonia)
Control existing medical conditions (especially heart or lung disease and diabetes)
Get testing for symptoms (influenza A & B, COVID-19)
Regular hand washing
Further lowering the risk
Eat healthy foods (a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, high fiber)
Drink lots of fluids (clear liquids are best)
Limit alcohol intake*
Get adequate rest (7-9 hours) at night
Wash hands regularly
*National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism - people older than age 65, who are healthy and don't take medications, no more than seven drinks a week. American Diabetes Association - one drink or less a day for women, or two drinks or less a day for men.
Even more to lower the risk
Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (door knobs, all handles, countertops).
Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of the elbow.
Cough into Elbow
Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoking damages the lungs and makes infection more likely.
Stay away from others when sick.
Stay away from others who are sick (like grandchildren).
Avoid close contact and sharing items with others if either is sick.