Who's at risk of pneumonia?

You can get pneumonia at any age. Each year in the UK, about 5-11 adults out of every 1,000 get pneumonia.

Some groups of people are at higher risk from pneumonia. If you’re in one of these groups, you should take extra care to reduce your chances of catching pneumonia.

People in these at risk groups include:

  • babies and young children
  • people over 65
  • people with long-term heart, lung and kidney diseases, or diabetes
  • people with cancer, especially those having chemotherapy
  • people who smoke or drink alcohol to excess
  • people on drugs that suppress the immune system, and those with HIV

People in hospital for other problems sometimes develop pneumonia while they’re there. This can be for several reasons including the use of mechanical ventilators, recent antibiotic use or because their resistance to infection has been weakened by other medical problems.

Next: Causes of pneumonia >


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Last medically reviewed: October 2016. Due for review: October 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.