General Practice 2022

9 main symptoms of pneumonia (with online test)

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9 main symptoms of pneumonia (with online test)
9 main symptoms of pneumonia (with online test)

The main symptoms of pneumonia are high fever, tiredness, dry cough or with phlegm, mental confusion, chest pain and shortness of breath. However, in some cases, the symptoms of pneumonia can be so mild that it can be confused with other conditions, such as allergies, flu and colds.

Pneumonia symptoms vary depending on the type of microorganism that causes the disease, such as viruses, fungi or bacteria, and the person's age and he alth status. In general, the main symptoms of pneumonia are:

  1. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath;
  2. Breathing faster than normal;
  3. Fever above 38ºC;
  4. Dry cough;
  5. Cough with greenish or bloody phlegm;
  6. Chest pain;
  7. Night sweat;
  8. Frequent tiredness or muscle pain;
  9. Constant headache.

Babies and children may not have signs and symptoms of pneumonia or may become more agitated, cry often, have vomiting, fever and cough. Learn about other symptoms of pneumonia in babies.

Pneumonia symptoms online test

If you think you may have pneumonia, select the symptoms you have in the following test to know your risk:

  1. 1.Fever above 38º C Yes No
  2. 2.Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath Yes No
  3. 3.Breathing faster than normal Yes No
  4. 4.Dry cough Yes No
  5. 5.Cough with greenish or bloody phlegm Yes No
  6. 6.Chest pain Yes No
  7. 7.Constant headache Yes No
  8. 8.Frequent tiredness or muscle pain Yes No
  9. 9.Intense night sweats Yes No


Make an appointment with a specialist

It is important that the symptoms presented are always evaluated by a clinician or pulmonologist, who will also assess the state of he alth and request tests to confirm the diagnosis and, if necessary, indicate the most appropriate treatment.

Symptoms of pneumonia in infants and children

Infants and children may not have symptoms and signs of pneumonia. However, according to age, the cause of pneumonia and the severity of the disease, the child and baby may experience cough, fever, wheezing, vomiting, loss of hunger, paleness, limpness, decrease in urine volume, excessive crying and agitation.

Symptoms of pneumonia in adults and the elderly

Pneumonia symptoms in adults can be mild, such as cold or flu symptoms, or severe, depending on the person's he alth status, age, and the cause of the pneumonia.

The main symptoms of pneumonia in adults are:

  • Fever;
  • Chills;
  • Dry cough or with greenish, yellowish or bloody phlegm;
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
  • Accelerated breathing;
  • Chest pain;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Headache;
  • Tiredness;
  • Weight Loss.

The elderly, on the other hand, have milder symptoms and usually do not have a fever, and may even have a lower body temperature than normal. Usually the elderly have a sudden change in behavior, and may lose track of time and space or maintain an altered speech.

What to do in case of suspicion

In case of suspicion of pneumonia, it is recommended to go through a consultation with a medical clinician, or pulmonologist, to evaluate the signs and symptoms presented. In addition, the doctor may also order additional tests, such as X-ray, blood test, bronchoscopy and sputum test, to help with the diagnosis and, if necessary, indicate the appropriate treatment. See how the diagnosis of pneumonia is made.

Who is most at risk for pneumonia

People most at risk for pneumonia are:

  • People over 65 years old and children under 2 years old;
  • People undergoing chemotherapy;
  • People with autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, who are using medications to inhibit the immune system
  • People with neurological conditions that make swallowing difficult, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and stroke;
  • People with HIV/AIDS;
  • People who smoke and consume alcoholic beverages;
  • People with diseases that affect the lungs or heart, such as asthma, uncontrolled diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and emphysema.

In addition, people who are hospitalized and who spend a lot of time lying on their backs are also at greater risk of acquiring pneumonia, because this position favors the accumulation of mucus and germs in the lungs. People who use equipment to help breathe have difficulty coughing and expelling germs, so they are also at high risk for pneumonia.

How the treatment is done

Pneumonia treatment lasts between 7 and 21 days, should only be done under the guidance of a doctor and varies according to the cause and severity of the disease, and the use of drugs such as antibiotics, analgesics and antifungals. Learn about the different recommended treatments for pneumonia.

In addition, nebulization and chest physiotherapy may also be recommended to help thin secretions and strengthen the lungs. Hospitalization may be indicated in more severe cases, such as when symptoms do not improve within 7 days of starting treatment and in the presence of mental confusion, for example.

Some care can strengthen the immune system, helping to complement the treatment of pneumonia, such as resting, drinking plenty of water, having a good night's sleep and maintaining a balanced diet.

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