Thursday, December 18, 2014

Table of Contents

Alternative Names

Pneumonia - viral; "Walking pneumonia" - viral


Symptoms

Symptoms of viral pneumonia often begin slowly and may not be severe at first.

The most common symptoms of pneumonia are:

  • Cough (with some pneumonias you may cough up mucus, or even bloody mucus)
  • Fever, which may be mild or high
  • Shaking chills
  • Shortness of breath (may only occur when you climb stairs)

Other symptoms include:

  • Confusion, especially in older people
  • Excessive sweating and clammy skin
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue
  • Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough
  • Fatigue

Signs and tests

Persons with suspected pneumonia should have a complete medical evaluation, including a thorough physical exam and a chest x-ray -- especially since the physical exam may not always distinguish pneumonia from acute bronchitis or other respiratory infections.

Depending on the severity of illness, other tests may be done, including:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • CT scan of the chest
  • Blood cultures
  • Blood tests to diagnose specific viruses
  • Bronchoscopy (rarely needed)
  • Open lung biopsy (only done in very serious illnesses when the diagnosis cannot be made from other sources)
  • Sputum culture


Review Date: 09/15/2010
Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)