Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Pneumonia can be very serious in people older than 65.

Pneumonia can be very serious in people older than 65.
beginning of content


2-minute read

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Most infections are due either to bacteria or to viruses. Pneumonia can also be caused by fungi, particularly in people whose immune systems aren’t working properly.

Pneumonia can be a mild illness or it can be something much more serious. If you or someone you are caring for seems to be recovering well from a cold or the flu and then suddenly they get worse, it could be pneumonia. The illness can be life threatening, especially in babies, young children and the elderly, so it’s important to see a doctor right away.

The most common signs and symptoms are:

Check your symptoms with healthdirect’s Symptom Checker for advice on when to seek medical attention.

Last reviewed: February 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Legionnaire's disease (Legionella infection) information | myVMC

Legionnaires disease is a type of bacterial pneumonia or severe lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria. It can be treated with antibiotics.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website


Pneumonia is a serious lung infection caused by a virus or bacteria.

Read more on WA Health website

Pneumonia symptoms -

The symptoms of pneumonia usually depend on the cause of the pneumonia, but some symptoms are common, such as dry or productive cough, chest pain, fever or chills and breathlessness.

Read more on myDr website

Pneumonia | Lung Foundation Australia

Pneumonia Pneumococcal pneumonia can affect anyone Adults aged 65 and over, no matter how healthy they feel, are at increased risk simply due to their age

Read more on Lung Foundation Australia website

Pneumonia | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

What is pneumonia? Pneumonia is inflammation or infection of one or both lungs caused by viruses or bacteria

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Pneumonia symptoms and treatment information video | myVMC

Pneumonia is a serious lung infection. Pneumonia symptoms include fever and cough. Pneumonia treatment is with antibiotics.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Pneumonia: diagnosis and treatment -

Fit, young people usually recover fairly quickly from pneumonia in a week or 2. However, many people feel more tired than usual for several weeks after having pneumonia.

Read more on myDr website

Pneumonia in children -

Find out the symptoms of pneumonia in children, as well as common causes and treatment.

Read more on myDr website

Pneumonia information | myVMC

Pneumonia is an acute lower respiratory tract infection that causes inflammation of the lungs. It is common world-wide and can be fatal.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It can be caused by bacteria or viruses, and people who are ill for some other reason seem particularly likely to get pneumonia. People with pneumonia usually get short of breath because the infection blocks airways in the lungs, interfering with the movement of oxygen from the air into the blood.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo