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12 pneumonia symptoms to be aware of

12 pneumonia symptoms to be aware of

Pneumonia is a health condition where the alveoli or air sacs in the lungs get inflamed and filled with fluid, preventing oxygen from entering the bloodstream. This is dangerous as one’s oxygen levels can drop, and permanent lung damage can occur. The condition is prevalent in younger children, infants, and adults above 65 years. However, it is curable with the proper treatment. This article lists 12 pneumonia symptoms that help identify the condition.

Cough is the body’s mechanism of eliminating irritants or infections from the respiratory system—alveoli, lungs, and trachea. It is a common pneumonia symptom in patients of all ages. The cough can be dry or phlegm-producing. The mucus being coughed up could be yellow, green, or even bloody. Cough is accompanied by chest pain ranging from mild to severe.

Fever is a common bodily reaction to most illnesses, including pneumonia, indicating the body is fighting against an infection. Fever might be the only symptom in children and infants. Adults, however, may or may not have a temperature. In any case, patients with prolonged fever need to visit a doctor to rule out anything serious.

Difficulty breathing
Congestion in the lungs can make it hard to breathe. Patients quickly grow breathless (even when resting) and make wheezing sounds. Wheezing is most commonly seen in patients with viral pneumonia. It is, therefore, necessary to take timely action and follow proper treatment protocol.

Cyanosis is a condition where the skin around the nose, mouth, or fingers turns bluish. This change of color can also be seen in other parts of the body, although mild. It indicates a deficiency of oxygen in the blood and body tissues. Oxygen-rich blood is red, while under-oxygenated blood is bluish. While cyanosis is among the common pneumonia symptoms in children, it can affect adults too.

Increased heart rate
With congested lungs and reduced breathing capacity, the body experiences a shortage of oxygen supply. Shallow, rapid, and wheezing breaths add to the trouble by exerting pressure on the heart. These complications cause the heart to beat faster and work harder, resulting in increased heart rate. It is among the more severe pneumonia symptoms.

Sweating and shivering
Excessive shivering is seen in both kids and adults. The shivering is so intense that the patient finds no relief despite layering with multiple blankets. Turning up the thermostat temperature does not help either. Some patients experience the opposite: excessive sweating. They sweat even when resting and in cool weather.

Loss of appetite
Loss of appetite is a symptom associated with multiple health concerns, pneumonia being one of them. A change in eating habits can, in turn, lead to weight changes and other problems. Hence, it is one of those symptoms that one should not ignore and visit a doctor immediately to determine the cause.

Lower body temperature
This is among the rare pneumonia symptoms, but a few patients do experience a low body temperature. It is especially noticeable in those aged 65 or older. If one’s body temperature drops below 97 degrees Fahrenheit, they should consult with a doctor.

Some pneumonia symptoms can, in turn, lead to headaches. Headaches can result from increased pressure on the lungs or heart, a shortage of oxygen to the brain and other organs, or even increased heart rate and blood pressure. In most cases, headaches are accompanied by fever.

Nausea and vomiting
The feeling of being sick, or nausea, is expected as the lungs are constantly congested, and there is fluid build-up in the body. Although rarer, a side effect of nausea is vomiting. Nausea and vomiting could also be a sign of less severe health conditions like indigestion or other diseases related to the gut, making them often-ignored symptoms.

Joint and muscle pain
Joint and muscle pain can result from the lack of oxygen in the blood. It could also be because the body is fighting the disease. Besides pain, decreased energy levels can also lead to faster muscle loss. However, this pneumonia symptom is not very common.

Feeling confused or disoriented is a common symptom of pneumonia, especially in the elderly, mainly because of low oxygen supply to the brain cells. This symptom may be more complicated when coupled with the old age of patients.

Many of these symptoms, such as a cough or headache, might not seem severe. However, one must visit a doctor if they experience a combination of these. If pneumonia is confirmed, doctors recommend treatment options based on the patient’s symptoms, age, and other factors.