What is it?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Most infections are due either to bacteria or to viruses. Pneumonia can be a mild illness or it can be something much more serious.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of pneumonia can develop suddenly over 24 to 48 hours, or they may come on more slowly over several days.
Common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- A cough – which may be dry, or produce thick yellow, green, brown or blood-stained mucus (phlegm).
- Difficulty breathing – your breathing may be rapid and shallow, and you may feel breathless, even when resting.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Feeling generally unwell.
- Sweating and shivering.
- Loss of appetite.
- Chest pain – which gets worse when breathing or coughing.
Less common symptoms include:
- Coughing up blood (haemoptysis).
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Joint and muscle pain.
- Feeling confused and disorientated, particularly in elderly people.
What to expect?
If you are diagnosed with and treated for pneumonia you should seek medical help if:
- You develop rapid breathing, chest pain or confusion.
- You have an ongoing fever despite 48 hour of treatment.
In addition to treatment by your doctor you can try the following things:
- Take rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Painkillers such as acetaminophen might help in relieving pain and fever.