Symptoms of pneumonia 

The symptoms of pneumonia can develop suddenly (over 24-48 hours) or may come on more slowly, over several days.

Pneumonia symptoms vary and can be similar to those of other chest infections, such as acute bronchitis.

Common symptoms of pneumonia

You are likely to have a cough. This can be dry, or may produce thick mucus (phlegm) that is yellow, green, brownish or blood-stained.

Other common symptoms include:

  • difficulty breathing  your breathing may be rapid and shallow, and you may feel breathless, even when resting
  • rapid heartbeat
  • fever
  • feeling generally unwell
  • sweating and shivering
  • loss of appetite
  • pain in your chest  which gets worse when breathing or coughing

Less common symptoms

Less commonly, symptoms of pneumonia can include:

  • coughing up blood (haemoptysis)
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • nausea or vomiting
  • wheezing
  • pain in your joints and muscles
  • feeling confused and disorientated, particularly in elderly people

When to see your GP

If you experience any symptoms of pneumonia, see your GP.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms – particularly rapid breathing, pain or confusion – seek urgent medical attention.

Read more about how pneumonia is diagnosed.

Page last reviewed: 19/06/2014

Next review due: 19/06/2016