In the United States, lung infections consistently rank in the top 10 leading causes of death, accounting for >50,000 deaths annually. Moreover, >140,000 deaths occur annually as a result of chronic lung diseases, some of which may be complicated by an infectious process. The lung is constantly exposed to the environment and is susceptible to infectious complications caused by bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic pathogens. Indeed, we are continually faced with the threat of morbidity and mortality associated with annual influenza virus infections, new respiratory viruses (e.g., SARS-CoV), and lung infections caused by antibioticresistant "ESKAPE pathogens" (three of which target the lung). This review highlights innate immune receptors and cell types that function to protect against infectious challenges to the respiratory system yet also may be associated with exacerbations in chronic lung diseases.