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What are the Most Common Symptoms of Pneumonia?

What are the Most Common Symptoms of Pneumonia?

What are the types of pneumonia symptoms in adults? Before we answer this question, it’s important to define the disease.

Pneumonia is a disease that affects the air sacs within the lungs. When fluid or pus fills the air sacs in one or both lungs, the patient can experience coughing, fever, chills, and difficulty in breathing. Pneumonia symptoms may range from mild to severe, so the disease should always be taken seriously. Those with compromised immune systems, infants, and senior citizens are extremely vulnerable.

Read on to learn about the signs and symptoms of pneumonia, as well as its treatment and prevention.

Types of Pneumonia Symptoms in Adults

Pneumonia can be classified according to where the patient got it. For instance, community-acquired pneumonia and hospital acquired pneumonia are caused by different sets of microorganisms. The illness can also be classified by the causative agent, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, aspiration pneumonia, etc.

Interestingly, 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, or when food backflows up the esophagus and is then aspirated into the lungs. Bacteria can then affect the lungs, causing an infection. Aspiration pneumonia can either go away on its own or lead to full-blown pneumonia.

It is important to remember that having a cough and/or fever does not mean that you have pneumonia. While the symptoms are easily identifiable, it is a disease that can only be diagnosed through a medical check-up and laboratory tests.

How do the types of pneumonia symptoms in adults differ?

Regardless of type, the early symptoms of pneumonia are similar to that of the flu:

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

These symptoms may worsen as the disease progresses, producing coughs that won’t go away, increased muscle pain, and shortness of breath. Similarly, the body temperature can shoot up and the lips or nails can turn bluish.

Viral pneumonia may cause additional symptoms, such as:

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

Additionally, children with viral pneumonia can experience symptoms like an upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Many adults also report common symptoms like dizziness, loss of appetite, and lower than normal body temperature. For those in their 60s, pneumonia could be accompanied by increasing mental confusion.

Individuals with asthma or lung disease may also feel symptoms more severely. Likewise, infants and newborns may experience infections.

What You Need To Know About ‘Walking’ Pneumonia

Bacterial Pneumonia

The most common form of the disease, 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 that turn blue due to the lack of oxygen in the blood
  • compromised mental state

Viral Pneumonia

Meanwhile, Viral pneumonia develops over a period of two days to a week before it 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 respiratory droplets. When you inhale or come in contact with these droplets and then touch your face, you may get infected.

How is Pneumonia Treated?

Even with treatment, some individuals may experience potentially life-threatening complications due to pneumonia. If any symptoms persist, seek medical assistance immediately. This is especially important for those in high-risk groups such as infants or elderly people.

To diagnose the disease, your doctor might ask for your medical history, as well as perform several tests. These include chest x-rays, blood tests, and sputum tests. Other tests might involve a CT scan or a bronchoscopy, depending on your risk factors and your age. If you have been diagnosed with pneumonia, your doctor might prescribe antibiotic drugs.

It is important to remember that self-medication is dangerous; 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. If you experience any persistent signs and symptoms of pneumonia, consult your doctor. But remember that prevention is still better than cure. 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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Written by Excel Dyquiangco Updated Oct 09, 2020
Medically reviewed by January Velasco, M.D.