What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

The common symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • a cough, which can be dry, or may produce thick mucus
  • fever (a temperature of 38.5°C or higher), sweating and shivering
  • chest pain
  • breathing problems (e.g. breathlessness)
  • feeling generally unwell
  • loss of appetite.

Your cough may last for 2–3 weeks after your infection has cleared up.

Some people may also experience:

  • headaches
  • coughing up blood or blood-stained mucus
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • muscle and joint pain
  • tiredness
  • confusion and disorientation (mainly in older people).

Pneumonia can share some of the symptoms of a cold, acute bronchitis and asthma. If your doctor thinks you have pneumonia, you may need to have a chest X-ray to confirm the diagnosis. Find out more about how pneumonia is diagnosed.

Children and adults who are at increased risk of pneumonia will need antibiotic treatment and possibly hospitalisation as they are more likely to have severe illness and to develop other complications.

Read about the treatments for adults and children with pneumonia and how to relieve the symptoms of pneumonia.

Who is at increased risk of pneumonia?

  • Babies and very young children,especially babies who were born prematurely, or who have a heart or lung problem (from birth defects), leukaemia, or a condition that weakens their immune system.
  • People older than 65 years.
  • People with asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD, sometimes called emphysema) or another lung disorder.
  • People with a weakened immune system due to an illness such as HIV, or medicines that suppress the immune system (e.g. after an organ transplant or chemotherapy for cancer).
  • People with heart, kidney or liver disease.
  • People who smoke.