Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs. There are several subcategories of pneumonia, depending on the cause and the severity. For most ordinarily healthy people, pneumonia may be successfully treated at home in as little as two the three weeks. People with compromised immune systems however, such as the elderly, infants, or patients with chronic diseases, may require hospitalization to overcome pneumonia.

Pneumonia may be caused by bacteria, viruses, or even the inhalation of harmful chemicals. Bacterial pneumonia and non-bacterial pneumonia tend to have similar symptoms. Bacterial pneumonia tends to come on more quickly and be more severe than non-bacterial types. Bacterial pneumonia often develops following a bad respiratory infection, even if said infection itself is viral in nature, such as a cold or the flu. Nonbacterial pneumonia tends to develop more gradually and symptoms tend to be less severe. Many patients with nonbacterial pneumonia may not even be aware they are sick, because symptoms are so mild.

The most mild form of pneumonia is casually referred to as “walking pneumonia.” It has gained this moniker due to its being unlikely to disrupt daily activities. Symptoms of walking pneumonia may include:

  • Dry cough that may get worse while lying down

  • Low-grade fever

  • Feeling short of breath

  • Fatigue or persistent tiredness

  • Chest pain, which may get worse with deep breathing or coughing

  • Loss of appetite

Less commonly, a patient with walking pneumonia may experience, diarrhea, a sore throat, or a rash. Patients with moderate pneumonia may experience all of the symptoms mentioned above, as well as muscle aches. Severe pneumonia may also cause excessive sweating, difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, or cyanosis, a decreased amount of oxygen in the blood that causes a bluish tint to the lips and/or nails.

Even walking pneumonia may cause complications if left untreated. Only a doctor can diagnose and help determine the best form of treatment for pneumonia, regardless of cause or severity. If you are experiencing symptoms you believe may be caused by pneumonia, call your doctor right away.


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