How do you prevent pneumonia

Pneumonia - what does it actually mean?

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung tissue or the alveoli. If breathing is impaired as a result, it can lead to a life-threatening situation. That is why many people rightly fear developing pneumonia.

In Germany, it is estimated that up to 680,000 people develop community-acquired pneumonia every year. * Almost a third of them have to be admitted to hospital for treatment. Triggers can be bacteria, viruses and fungi. In most cases, however, pneumonia is due to an infection with bacteria. They are responsible for half of all illnesses.

Healthy people can also pass on pneumococci. An intact immune system usually keeps the bacteria in check. It only becomes problematic when our defenses are weakened. This is why many more people get pneumonia in winter than in summer.

40 percent pneumococci

Around 40 to 50 percent of community-acquired pneumonia is caused by pneumococci. Pneumococci are transmitted through droplet infection - so easily through skin contact, coughing, sneezing or kissing.

* This should be distinguished from cases in which patients become infected with bacteria or viruses during a hospital stay and develop pneumonia in this way.

How can I avoid infection?

  • Since pneumococci are transmitted by droplet infection, simple hygiene measures such as regular hand washing help prevent infection.
  • Sick people should therefore stay at home so as not to spread the germs further.
  • Strengthening the immune system generally helps to cope better with infections.

Typical symptoms

  • Cough with sputum
  • fever
  • chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Painful breathing
  • Feeling sick
  • Body aches
  • weakness


At the onset of the disease, people often feel weak and tired. If you add a fever, chills, shortness of breath, cough with sputum and an overall strong feeling of illness, the probability that it is severe pneumonia is high.


Pneumonia often makes itself felt differently in children than in adults. At first glance, a bloated stomach and headaches and limbs do not necessarily suggest pneumonia. And since normal colds in children are often accompanied by a fever, this is also not an alarm signal for many parents. However, these symptoms, combined with loss of appetite, severe cough and general malaise, should be taken seriously.

Elderly people

Symptoms that are typical of adults are less common in old age, which makes diagnosis more difficult. Pneumonia often shows itself only with a little cough and hardly any increased temperature, but it can happen that older people lose weight rapidly, become weaker and weaker and even lapse into a kind of twilight state. The symptoms of shortness of breath are more pronounced in many older people because the efficiency of the lungs is already reduced in old age.

ATTENTION: Delayed pneumonia is dangerous! At the first sign of illness, see your doctor.

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