Pneumonia Symptoms and Signs
A number of symptoms can indicate pneumonia, including a cough that produces green or yellow phlegm, trouble breathing, and chest pain that occurs when breathing or coughing. The signs and symptoms of pneumonia can range in severity, depending on how old you are and whether you have any other health conditions. People in high-risk groups have a greater chance of developing complications, such as fluid outside of the lungs.
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of the lungs. It is often caused by bacteria, viruses, or (less commonly) fungi. When the germs infect the lungs, they can cause inflammation, swelling, and a build-up of fluid or pus, which leads to many of the symptoms commonly seen with pneumonia.
These signs can vary from mild to severe and include:
- A cough that produces green or yellow phlegm
- Trouble breathing
- Chest pain when breathing or coughing
- A rapid heart rate and breathing rate
- Fever (temperature greater than 100.5ºF or 38ºC).
A person with pneumonia may also have signs and symptoms that affect other parts of the body. These can include:
Pneumonia tends to be more serious for infants and young children, older adults (people age 65 or older), people who have other chronic health problems, and people who have weak immune systems as a result of diseases or other factors.
Symptoms may vary in certain populations. Newborns and infants may not show any signs of pneumonia or may vomit, have a fever and cough, or have stomach pain. They may also appear restless or sick, have difficulty feeding, or appear tired and without energy.
Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder pneumonia symptoms. They may even have a lower-than-normal temperature. If they already have a lung disease, it may get worse. Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness, such as confusion or unclear thinking.