How do you know if you have pneumonia?


Quick Answer

Although symptoms of pneumonia can vary based on whether the pneumonia is viral or bacterial, most cases of pneumonia are marked by cough, fever, shaking, chills and shortness of breath. Other possible symptoms include headache, excess sweating, clammy skin, sharp or stabbing pains in the chest, loss of appetite, fatigue, low energy and confusion, according to the American Lung Association.

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Full Answer

In cases of viral pneumonia, the American Lung Association notes that the symptoms are very much like those experienced with influenza, including a dry cough, fever, muscle pain, weakness and headache. Increasing breathlessness occurs within 12 to 36 hours, and the cough may worsen and begin to produce mucus. Blueness of the lips and a high fever may also be experienced.

With bacterial pneumonia, a temperature of up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit may be observed. Sweating may become profuse, and pulse rate and breathing may increase rapidly. Reduced oxygen in the blood may cause a bluish look in the nail beds and lips, and the person may appear to be delirious or confused, according to the American Lung Association.

Pneumonia is diagnosed based on medical history, a physical examination and a chest X-ray. Other tests may be ordered, including a mucus test or rapid urine test. Tests to determine how well the immune system is working may also be needed, according to WebMD.

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