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Pneumonia Symptoms

Common Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia

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Updated October 06, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Pneumonia is an infection deep in the lungs affecting small air sacs called the alveoli. Pneumonia causes the air sacs to become inflamed and often filled with pus. Pneumonia also affects the tiny airways that lead into the alveoli, causing them to swell closed and obstruct air flow.

Pneumonia can follow a cold or the flu. The signs and symptoms of pneumonia come from both the infection and the reaction in the lungs, which intumonia come from both the infection and the reaction in the lungs, which interfeerferes with air flow.

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute suggests going to the doctor if>The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute suggests going to the doctor if you you have these symptoms:

  • high fever (over 103 degrees)
  • chills with shaking or shivering
  • coughing up phlegm or mucus
  • shortness of breath with normal activity (get winded easily)
  • chest pain with breathing or coughing
  • suddenly feel worse after a cold or the flu

The more of these symptoms you have, the more likely your doctor will think it's pneumonia. However, many of these symptoms are common in infections. Don't assume you have pneumonia just because you have a fever or chills, which often go together. Make sure to see your doctor if you have shortness of breath with any of these symptoms.

Plus, call 911 anytime you have shortness of breath that won't go away after a few minutes of rest.

Source:

"Pneumonia." NIH: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Last updated: Aug 2008. Accessed 3 Sep 2010

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