How do you prevent pneumonia?

There are some things you can do to reduce your risk of pneumonia. These are important to follow even if you have had pneumonia before, to stop you from getting it again.

Get vaccinated

There are two types of vaccine available for bacterial pneumonia. They protect against the most common cause of pneumonia, the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae.

  • The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) is for people over 65 and anyone over the age of two in a high-risk group. This includes people with diseases like COPD or severe asthma. Most people only need to have this vaccine once. If you have a condition that affects your spleen or kidneys, you may need a vaccination every five years.
  • The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), also known by the brand name Prevenar 13, is given to babies by the NHS. Babies get their first dose when they’re twelve weeks old and a booster when they’re one year old. It’s also available for adults privately from pharmacies.

You can also reduce your risk of viral pneumonia by getting the flu jab and the COVID-19 vaccine.

To find out more about getting a pneumonia, flu, or COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your GP or call our helpline on 0300 222 5800.

Get help to stop smoking

Smokers are more likely to get pneumonia as well as other chest infections. Children whose parents smoke are also at a higher risk of getting pneumonia.

Find out more on stopping smoking

Practise good hygiene

Common winter viral infections increase the risk of pneumonia, so you should practise good hygiene to reduce the spread of germs. For example, you should:

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • throw away used tissues straight away
  • wash your hands often.

Avoid drinking too much alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol weakens your immune system, making you more at risk of infections, including pneumonia.

Get support

Call or WhatsApp our Helpline for support with your condition. Get advice on your medicines, symptoms or travelling with a lung condition, or just call us to say hello.

Did you find this information useful?

We use your comments to improve our information. We cannot reply to comments left on this form. If you have health concerns or need clinical advice, call our helpline on 0300 222 5800 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

Page last reviewed:
Next review due: