Symptoms of pneumonia

The symptoms of pneumonia can develop suddenly (over 24-48 hours) or may come on more slowly, over several days.

Pneumonia symptoms vary and can be similar to those of other chest infections, such as acute bronchitis.

Common symptoms of pneumonia

You are likely to have a cough. This can be dry, or may produce phlegm (thick mucus) that is yellow, green, brownish or blood-stained.

Other common symptoms include:

  • difficulty breathing your breathing may be rapid and shallow and you may feel breathless, even when resting
  • rapid heartbeat
  • fever
  • feeling generally unwell
  • sweating and shivering
  • loss of appetite
  • pain in your chest

Less common symptoms

Less commonly, symptoms of pneumonia can include:

  • coughing up blood (haemoptysis)
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • wheezing
  • pain in your joints and muscles
  • feeling confused and disorientated (particularly in elderly people)

When to see your GP

If you experience any symptoms of pneumonia, see your GP for diagnosis.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, particularly rapid breathing, pain or confusion, seek urgent medical attention.

Read more information about how pneumonia is diagnosed.

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