Pneumonia is a respiratory infection that can manifest in many ways – more than fifty. It is characterized by an inflammation of your lung parenchyma and alveoli, and the filling of your alveoli with fluid. The condition results from a number of sources, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. Chemical and/or physical injury to the lungs can also lead to pneumonia.
Some forms can be mild, while others can endanger your life. Thankfully, treatments that will purge your system of the infection are available. Because of this, it is definitely recommended that you learn to recognize pneumonia and its symptoms before things get out of hand. Pneumonia can occur on its own, or it can sneak up on you right after the flu or other respiratory problems. It shows up suddenly with numerous symptoms, which include the following:
- Cough. Pneumonia-related cough is typically heavy, as though you feel a deep pressure in your chest as you cough.
- Discolored Phlegm. When infected with pneumonia, your phlegm can change its color. While most of the time your phlegm is clear, bacteria-infected phlegm can develop a green coloration. In severe cases, the phlegm turns rust-colored and may be accompanied by blood.
- Chills. Feeling cold when others find the temperature normal is a sign that your body is fighting off an infection. You may experience strong chills that involve involuntary shaking when infected by pneumonia.
- Shortness of breath. Pneumonia will make it harder for you to breathe. You will find that maintaining a long breath is difficult, and as a result you’ll have shorter, more rapid breaths than you normally would.
- Fever. As with many bacterial infections, a case of pneumonia will cause your body to develop fever as it staves off further infection.
- Chest pains. The congestion in your lungs, accompanied by the stress exerted on them with coughs, will cause some chest pain. Because your lungs are swollen from pneumonia, you will notice a sharp, stabbing pain as you breathe deeply.
- Fatigue. A case of pneumonia will make you feel much weaker, almost debilitated. Unexplained sluggishness and an overall lack of energy is one of the more common signs of an infection.
- Fast heartbeat. As your body shifts into high gear to fight off infection, you will notice that your heartbeat will become unusually fast.
Non-bacterial pneumonia, on the other hand, has milder symptoms that show up more gradually than bacterial pneumonia. While you may experience fever and shortness of breath, you’ll be coughing out less phlegm. You also won’t be feeling much weaker, and will likely not consider yourself sick. People call this condition “walking pneumonia” as it is not as incapacitating as the more serious types of pneumonia.
If you find that you’re experiencing the symptoms discussed, the best thing you can do is to seek further consultation with your doctor. A trained medical professional will be equipped with the necessary knowledge to properly diagnose whether or not your condition can be classified as pneumonia.