The signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe, depending upon factors such as the type of germ causing the infection and your age and overall health. Mild signs and symptoms often are similar to those of a cold or flu, but they last longer.

Signs and symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Fever, sweating and shaking chills
  • Lower than normal body temperature in people older than age 65, and in people with poor overall health or weakened immune systems
  • Cough, which may produce thick, sticky fluid
  • Chest pain when you breathe deeply or cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue and muscle aches
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Headache

Newborns and infants may not show any sign of the infection. Or they may vomit, have a fever and cough, appear restless or tired and without energy, or have difficulty breathing and eating.

Older people who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain, persistent fever of 102 F (39 C) or higher or persistent cough, especially if you are coughing up pus.

It's especially important to see a doctor if:

  • A child with signs and symptoms is younger than age 2
  • You are older than age 65
  • You have an underlying health condition or weakened immune system
  • You're having chemotherapy or taking medication that suppresses your immune system

For some older adults and people with heart failure or lung ailments, pneumonia can quickly become a life-threatening condition.

May. 21, 2013

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