Down with the Sickness: What exactly is pneumonia?

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HOUSTON — Someone grab Hillary Clinton a cough drop because she's been hacking more than Russian computer wizards.

While the presidential candidate gets some rest — and maybe a Pimp C-sized bottle of cough syrup — to alleviate her pneumonia diagnosis, a question popped into our minds: what exactly is pneumonia?

“Pneumonia is basically just a generic term for an infection in the lung," Dr. Steffanie Campbell of the Kelsey Seybold Clinic said.

An average 50,000 people in the U.S. die from pneumonia each year, according to the Center for Disease Control. Older adults are among those most at risk, the center said.

In October, Clinton turns will 69 years old.

But what do you do if you're feeling a little less fabulous than normal?

“If it’s a virus, unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of options for treatment, so that leaves you to supportive care until the body can take over and kind of cure itself, " Dr. Campbell said.

The illness could potentially knock Clinton off the rigorous campaign trail for a while. And while she has been out shaking hands, kissing babies and what not, has presidential candidate been putting anyone at risk?

“There are other very rare types of pneumonia that can be contagious, so you have to maintain the same precautions for those,” Dr. Campbell said.

Dr. Campbell said if you're diagnosed with pneumonia, it's a disease that's harder to get rid of than it is to spell.

“You can’t breath or you’re filling up the air sacks with pus or with fluid, so then you’ll have difficulty exchanging gas and you usually get systemic symptoms with that," said Dr. Campbell

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