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The symptoms of pneumonia

While pneumonia can make you feel very unwell, symptoms vary and people often mistake it for cold or flu, not realising that they have pneumonia until they visit a healthcare professional.1

Early pneumonia symptoms

If you have pneumonia, you’ll have symptoms that are similar to having flu or a chest infection. Symptoms such as coughing and difficulty breathing may develop gradually over a few days but can progress much faster.1

Symptoms of pneumonia

Pneumonia symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition.1

Couple together

Mild pneumonia symptoms1

  • Cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild flu-like symptoms
  • Tiredness and chest pain

Severe pneumonia symptoms1

  • Loss of appetite
  • Confusion
  • ​​​​​​​Coughing up blood
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea and vomiting

When to speak to your doctor

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and/or feel unwell, please seek advice from a healthcare professional or call 111. For more information, visit the NHS website.2

How could pneumonia impact you?

Mild cases of pneumonia can leave you with a cough that persists for up to six weeks after treatment.3 Often, people may feel tired and are unable to return to their normal daily routine for some time.3

Severe cases of pneumonia could have significant longer-term effects on your quality of life, where you may have difficulty or require help to carry out simple daily activities. 

Most people will recover fully after treatment, however fatigue can last up to three months after onset and it can take up to six months to get back to normal.3 Pneumonia can lead to serious complications in people who are very young, very old or have a long-term medical condition.2,3​​​​​

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Find out how to help protect yourself or others against pneumococcal pneumonia.

View References
  1. Asthma and Lung UK. What is Pneumonia. Available at: Last accessed January 2024.
  2. NHS. Pneumonia. Available at: Last accessed January 2024.
  3. Asthma and Lung UK. Recovering from Pneumonia. Available at: Last accessed January 2024.
  4. Davydow DS, Hough CL, Levine DA, et al. Functional disability, cognitive impairment, and depression after hospitalization for pneumonia. Am J Med. 2013;126(7):615-624.e5.

PP-UNP-GBR-7132 January 2024