Pneumonia means infection of the lungs. The majority of pneumonias come from bacteria (bacterial pneumonia) and around ten percent result from other microorganisms, including viruses and fungi. Contrary to some common misperceptions, going outside with wet hair or leaving your house without a jacket does not cause pneumonia. The majority of pneumonias result from bacteria normally living in our mouth and nose, which inadvertently pass down the trachea (windpipe) into the lungs. Once the bacteria reach the lungs, they proliferate and cause fever, cough and chest pain.

Some pneumonias may be transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets. A small percentage also comes from birds living in the house (psitacosis), sheep (Q fever), or wild animals (tularemia).

I have been coughing for months. What could be causing my cough?
How do I know if I need oxygen for my lung disease?
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