Pneumonia, commonly a complication of a respiratory infection — especially the flu — is caused by a bacterial infection and defined by the swelling of the tissue in the lungs it affects. The disease can become serious in a matter of hours and symptoms may last for months.

Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to life-threatening, depending on the type of pneumonia and the age of the person.

Types of Pneumonia

  • Bacterial Pneumonia: This type of pneumonia can affect anyone at any age, and is developed either on its own or after a serious cold or flu. Bacterial pneumonia is most commonly caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. It can also be caused by Chlamydophila pneumonia or Legionella pneumophila. Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia can sometimes develop in those who have weak immune systems due to illnesses like AIDS or cancer.
  • Viral Pneumonia: Respiratory viruses can cause pneumonia, especially in young children and the elderly. While pneumonia is usually not very serious and lasts a short time, it can lead to severe or fatal viral pneumonia. Pregnant women or individuals with heart or lung issues are at more risk.
  • Mycoplasma Pneumonia: The organisms that cause this kind of pneumonia are not viruses or bacteria, but they have traits common to both. These cause mild cases of pneumonia, mostly in older children and young adults.
  • Other Types of Pneumonia: These include Tuberculosis and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) that affect people with suppressed immune systems.

Symptoms of Pneumonia

  • Chest Pain
  • Fever
  • Dry Cough
  • Muscle Pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Breathing Difficulty
  • Wheezing

Some of the symptoms may indicate medical emergency. These include:

  • Bluish tone in skin
  • Blood in sputum
  • Labored Breathing
  • High Fever
  • Rapid Heartbeat

If any individual notices the above mentioned symptoms, it is advised to consult a doctor. Some physical examination and diagnostic tests need to be carried out.

Crackling and bubbling sounds in the chest during inhalation are usually indicators of pneumonia. Some individuals may also have wheezing.

Chest X-rays need to be conducted to determine if the infection is present in your lungs.