While the flu and cold are as common as, well, the common cold, over time the symptoms can develop into pneumonia, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition (usually in older people). You may have fever, shakes, headaches, runny nose, cough—all symptoms of the cold and flu. However, the cold and flu could develop into the lung infection that is pneumonia the longer they go untreated. Luckily, bacterial pneumonia is fairly easy to treat with antibiotics at its early stages. If it’s viral pneumonia, it may take a little bit longer to treat—making sufficient rest, plenty of fluids and fever-reducing medication integral to recovery. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms and know when to contact your healthcare professional. According to WebMD, everyone who has pneumonia needs to seek proper care, so here are the symptoms to look out for:
The cold or flu (with really bad symptoms)
Pneumonia develops when the germs/bacteria of the cold or flu are carried to the lungs and cause infection. You may experience chills, fever, cough, headaches, aches and pains, and fatigue. While all of these symptoms could just be signs of the common cold, it may be time to see a healthcare professional if they don’t subside after two weeks.
While fever is a common symptom of the flu, a severe fever could be a very different story. People suffering from pneumonia could experience fevers up to 105 degrees F or higher. If experiencing intense fevers, it’s important to take a fever reducer, such as ibuprofen.
Coughing up mucus
If you’re coughing up yellow, green or even bloody mucus, it could be pneumonia. Your infected lungs may be trying to dispel the bacteria causing the condition.
Sharp chest pain
When coughing or taking a deep breath, you may experience a sharp or stabbing pain in your chest. This is caused by the infected lungs of pneumonia.
Lack of breath/fast breathing
With infected lungs, it could be difficult to breathe. Pneumonia makes it very difficult for your lungs to fully expand, so you may be suffering from lack of breath or quick breathing due to your body trying to make up for it. If you’re taking up to 45 breaths per minute, it may a symptom of pneumonia.
Since your body is trying to fight off infection, you may be feeling more tired than normal. This is caused by your body using up all of its energy to fight off pneumonia, so you don’t have a lot of excess energy to use elsewhere.