SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Pneumonia often mimics the flu, beginning with a cough and a fever, so you may not realize you have a more serious condition. Symptoms can vary depending on your age and general health.
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Lower-than-normal body temperature in older people
- Shortness of breath
- Shaking chills
- Chest pain that fluctuates with breathing (pleurisy)
- Muscle pain
When to see a doctor
Because pneumonia can be serious, see your doctor as soon as possible if you have a persistent cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fever — especially a lasting fever of 102 F (39 C) or higher with chills and sweating. Also contact your doctor if you suddenly feel worse after a cold or the flu.
Be especially prompt about seeking medical care if you're an older adult or you smoke, drink excessively, have an injury, are undergoing chemotherapy or taking medication, such as prednisone, that suppresses your immune system. For some older adults and people with heart failure or lung ailments, pneumonia can quickly become a life-threatening condition.
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