What are the Most Common Symptoms of Pneumonia?

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Update Date 17/07/2020 . 4 mins read
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What are the types of pneumonia symptoms in adults?

Before we answer this question, it’s important to define what pneumonia is.

Pneumonia is a disease that affects the lungs, specifically the air sacs within the lungs. When fluid or pus fills the air sacs in one or both lungs, conditions such as coughing, fever, chills, and difficulty in breathing, happen – and this leads to pneumonia. There are many organisms, such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria, that can cause pneumonia.

And while pneumonia symptoms may range from mild to severe, the disease should always be taken seriously. Those with compromised immune systems, infants, and senior citizens, are most vulnerable to pneumonia. Read on to learn more about the signs and symptoms of pneumonia, as well as its treatment and prevention.

Types of Pneumonia Symptoms in Adults

Pneumonia can be classified as to where the patient got it. For instance, community-acquired pneumonia or hospital acquired pneumonia, which is caused by a different set of microorganisms. This can also be classified by the causative agent: bacterial, viral, fungal, aspiration pneumonia etc).

The only standout in terms of history or signs and symptoms would be aspiration pneumonia. This happens when a person inhales saliva, food, or stomach acid. This is also caused by a backflow of food up the esophagus, which can then be aspirated into the lungs.

Bacteria from these can affect the lungs, causing infection. Symptoms include sudden fever and cough.

Though aspiration pneumonia can resolve on its own, it could also lead to full-blown pneumonia.

It’s important to note that even if you have a cough, it doesn’t mean that you already have pneumonia. Nor does it mean that when you have a fever, you’ve immediately contracted the disease. Pneumonia is a disease in itself that can only be diagnosed through a medical check-up and various laboratory tests.

Always consult a doctor if you suspect you have pneumonia. 

How do the types of pneumonia symptoms in adults differ?

Regardless of type, the early symptoms of pneumonia, which are similar to that of influenza (Flu), are the following.

  • productive cough
  • fever
  • sweating
  • chills
  • fatigue or weakness

As the disease progresses, these symptoms may worsen, producing coughs that won’t go away, muscle pain that’s twice as painful, and shortness of breath. Body temperature shoots up as well, and lips and nails begin to turn bluish. 

Though both types of pneumonia share similar symptoms, viral pneumonia may cause added symptoms, such as:

  • extreme shortness of breath
  • headaches
  • muscle pain
  • persistent, worsening cough

In children with viral pneumonia, stomach upset like diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea could also be present. In older adults, dizziness, loss of appetite, and lower than normal body temperature are commonly reported.

For those in their 60s, pneumonia could be accompanied by increasing mental confusion.

Those with compromised immune systems or the elderly may experience pneumonia in a different way. Some can have fever and headaches, as well as muscle pains. Others may be mentally confused. Individuals with asthma or lung disease may feel symptoms more severely.

Infants and newborns may experience infections; some may vomit, have a cough, cold or fever, seem restless or tired, and have trouble sleeping at night. 

What You Need To Know About ‘Walking’ Pneumonia

Bacterial Pneumonia

The most common form of pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia, requires medical attention. Its symptoms vary from one patient to another.

Among the signs and symptoms of bacterial pneumonia are:

  • a fever that can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius
  • constant sweating 
  • rapid, sharp breathing
  • Nails and lips might also turn blue due to the lack of oxygen in the blood
  • mental state of the patient may also be compromised

Viral Pneumonia

Viral pneumonia, on the other hand, develops over a period of two days to a week, and then gradually worsens. Its signs and symptoms include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • dry cough
  • shaking chills
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • body pain
  • muscle pain 
  • weakness
  • chest pain
  • bluish discoloration of the lips

Is Pneumonia Contagious? 

Some forms of pneumonia are spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes can carry the disease. When you inhale or come in contact with these droplets, then touch your face, you may also get infected with pneumonia.

Treatment of Pneumonia

Even with treatment, some individuals may experience complications due to pneumonia, and these may be life-threatening.

When any symptoms persist, such as bluish lips, a high fever, or chest pains, go to your doctor or to the nearest hospital immediately and have yourself checked.This is especially important to those in the high-risk groups such as infants or older people, as they can easily succumb to the disease. 

To diagnose the disease, your doctor might ask you for your medical history, as well as perform several tests on you: chest x-rays, blood tests, and sputum tests. Other tests might also involve a CT scan or a bronchoscopy, depending on your risk factor and your age.

Once you have been diagnosed with pneumonia, your doctor might prescribe you with antibiotic drugs. It is highly important not to self-medicate; follow your doctor’s orders and take the medications prescribed to you.

Pneumonia: All You Need to Know

Key Takeaways

Pneumonia is a disease that should not be neglected. Once you experience any signs and symptoms of pneumonia – especially a high-grade fever, chills, or muscle pains – immediately proceed to your doctor so you can get diagnosed. If you do get diagnosed with pneumonia, don’t worry as the right medications can cure you of this illness.

The bottom line is that prevention is still better than cure. So to avoid pneumonia, make sure to always take care of yourself!

Learn more about respiratory health, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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