Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a serious illness that should be diagnosed and treated early. Although it is fairly common, it can be life-threatening.

These are some of the most common symptoms of pneumonia. If you have one or more of these symptoms and are concerned that you may have pneumonia, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. A chest x-ray is usually necessary for diagnosis and early treatment is important.

People with pneumonia typically have a cough that is "moist" or sounds like they are coughing up mucus, whether or not they actually are.



Painful or Frequent Cough

One of the classic signs of pneumonia is pain when coughing. The cough will be fairly frequent and cause significant pain. It may hurt just to breathe as well.

Feeling Tired or Weak (Fatigue)

Pneumonia is a serious illness and can take a toll on your body. It is often accompanied by a fever, which can leave you feeling exhausted and achy. Overall exhaustion comes just from trying to fight off the infection.

Chest Pain

Chest pain may occur with or without coughing. It often feels sharper when you are breathing in.

Fevers occur with many illnesses and may or may not be present with pneumonia.



Chills often go along with fever. When your body temperature rises, the air feels colder to you and you may shiver and feel chilled.

A headache may accompany pneumonia and is more likely if you are also running a fever.


Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath may occur because the lungs are not functioning properly. However, not everyone with pneumonia becomes short of breath and some people may only experience it while climbing stairs or with increased activity.

Blue or Grayish Coloring Around the Mouth and Lips

A blue or grayish color around the mouth and lips can be a sign that the body is not getting adequate oxygen. If you notice this, contact your healthcare provider.

Confusion or Altered Mental State

This is uncommon but possible with bacterial pneumonia. It is more common in older adults.


What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia? Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. American Lung Association 2014. 25 Feb 14.