Most people who develop pneumonia initially have a viral infection such as a cold or flu, which produces symptoms such as headache, muscle aches and fever. If pneumonia develops, symptoms commonly include:-
- High fever
- Shortness of breath
- Increased breathing rate
- A worsening cough that may produce discoloured or bloody sputum (phlegm)
- Sharp chest pains – caused by inflammation of the membrane that lines the lungs.
Viral pneumonia tends to develop slowly over a number of days, whereas bacterial pneumonia usually develops quickly, often over a day. Pneumonia can be fatal in up to 30% of severe cases that are managed in the intensive-care setting.