What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

The symptoms of pneumonia are caused by inflammation of the lungs due to infection or irritation. In response, the lungs produce excessive amounts of thick phlegm, which must be coughed up in order to keep the airways open for effective breathing.

The types and severity of symptoms of pneumonia vary depending on a variety of factors, such as a person’s age, general health, and medical history. In generally healthy adults, symptoms of pneumonia can be relatively moderate. Symptoms are often more severe in people who have chronic illnesses, such as COPD or congestive heart failure, or in the very young or very old.

Symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Chest congestion

  • Chest pain or tightness when coughing

  • Chills

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Loose, wet cough that produces thick white, yellow, green or brownish phlegm

  • Muscle and body aches

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Sweating

  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, pneumonia can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, are experiencing any of the following life-threatening symptoms:

  • Bluish coloration of the lips or fingernails (cyanosis)

  • Change in level of consciousness

  • Confusion or disorientation

  • Gurgling sound in the throat

  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)

  • Lethargy

  • Moderate to severe shortness of breath

  • Rapid, labored breathing

  • Rapid pulse

  • Wheezing, a whistling sound made with breathing


What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a general term for a variety of diseases that cause an inflammation of the lungs. Pneumonia is most often caused by a bacterial infection (bacterial pneumonia) or a viral infection (viral pneumonia). Typical symptoms of pneumonia include fever, shortness of breath, and a wet cough that produces thic... Read more about pneumoniaintroduction


What causes pneumonia?

Pneumonia is usually caused by a bacterial infection (bacterial pneumonia) or a viral infection (viral pneumonia). Pneumonia caused by an infection (infectious pneumonia) usually spreads from person to person when someone with the disease coughs, talks or sneezes. This shoots contaminated droplets into the air where they can be breathed in by others.

Pneumonia can also be caused b... Read more about pneumoniacauses


How is pneumonia treated?

The goals of pneumonia treatment include minimizing the risk of serious complications and controlling symptoms to allow you to rest and recover. Mild to moderate cases of pneumonia that occur in generally healthy adults may be treated at home. More severe cases of pneumonia or cases in infants, older adults, or people with chronic diseases often require hospitalization.

Treatment ... Read more about pneumoniatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Lungs, Breathing and Respiration

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