Symptoms and diagnosis of pneumonia
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The symptoms of pneumonia can develop suddenly over 24 to 48 hours, or they may come on more slowly over several days. Pneumonia can affect people of any age, but it can be more serious in certain groups of people, such as the very young or the elderly.
Common symptoms include a cough, according to the NHS.
The health body states that this cough may be dry, or produce thick yellow, green, brown or blood-stained mucus. This is known as phlegm.
If your cough is showing any of these signs, it could potentially be a pneumonia symptom.
If you have a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, it could be COVID-19.
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Other common symptoms of pneumonia include difficulty breathing and a high temperature.
A person’s breathing may be rapid and shallow, and you may feel breathless, even when resting.
The NHS also states that a rapid heartbeat, sweating and shivering and loss of appetite could also be symptoms.
There are also some less common symptoms to be aware of.
Less common symptoms include feeling sick and getting headaches.
In some cases, people will also cough up blood, or might experience joint and muscle pain.
Feeling confused and disorientated can also be an indicator, and is particularly common in elderly people.
If you feel unwell and have any other symptoms of pneumonia, contact your GP, or if it is an emergency call 999.
An ambulance should be called for if a person is struggling to breathe, coughing up blood or feels cold and sweaty, with pale or blotchy skin.
Pneumonia is usually the result of a bacterial infection, but there are other forms, alongside bacterial pneumonia.
These include viral pneumonia, caused by a virus, such as coronavirus, and aspiration pneumonia.
Aspiration pneumonia is caused by breathing in vomit or a harmful substance.
Fungal pneumonia is rare in the UK, and more likely to affect people with a weakened immune system.
People can also get it whilst in hospital, and people in intensive care on breathing machines are particularly at risk of developing ventilator-associated pneumonia.
Hospital-acquired pneumonia can develop while a patient is being treated for another condition or having an operation.
Pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because it shares many symptoms with other conditions, such as asthma.
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