Pneumonia is a serious illness for anyone. It can be even more serious for the elderly, who are more likely to develop complications and may die from pneumonia. For people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart failure, pneumonia can be very serious or even fatal. Weakened immunity from cancer treatment, HIV/AIDS, or other causes can make pneumonia much more dangerous. Pneumonia is also a serious illness in infants and young children.
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Dr Margaret Payne, MD, Pediatrics, answeredPneumonia is a serious infection for everyone. However, the elderly and immunocompromised such as those with AIDS or on chemotherapy have a much harder time recovering from pneumonia than healthy individuals. Children often recover more quickly from pneumonia than the groups already mentioned. However, some will go on to develop fluid or pus surrounding their lungs. These patients become very ill and usually have to have the pus drained from the lung. Also, it is often necessary to give these sicker patients oxygen because their lungs are not functioning well enough to keep the patient adequately oxygenated. It is important that patients with fever and cough be evaluated and treated promptly to hopefully keep from developing a more serious pneumonia.