Pneumonia can develop when you’re hospitalized for something else. This type is called hospital-acquired pneumonia.
When you’re in the hospital, you’re more prone to infection because your immune system may already be challenged or you may be intubated or on a ventilator. But that’s not the only risk. The pneumonia-causing microorganisms found in hospitals tend to be more potent than those found in communities. They’re also more likely to resist antibiotic treatment.
To help protect yourself from hospital-acquired pneumonia, be sure everyone who enters your room—including health care providers—washes or disinfects their hands so they won’t spread germs that could cause a respiratory infection. And ask friends and family not to visit if they’re sick.
This article first appeared in the April 2019 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.