Main Symptoms of Infectious Pneumonia Diagram Poster
People with infectious pneumonia often have a productive cough, fever accompanied by shaking chills, shortness of breath, sharp or stabbing chest pain during deep breaths, confusion, and an increased respiratory rate. In the elderly confusion may be the most prominent symptom. The typical symptoms in children under five are fever, cough, and fast or difficult breathing. Fever however is not very specific as it occurs in many other common illnesses and may be absent in those with severe disease or malnutrition while a cough is frequently absent in those less than 2 months of age. More severe symptoms may include: central cyanosis, decreased drinking, convulsions, persistent vomiting, or a decreased level of consciousness.
Some causes of pneumonia are associated with specific symptoms. Pneumonia caused by Legionella may occur with abdominal pain and diarrhoea, while pneumonia caused by tuberculosis or Pneumocystis may cause only weight loss and night sweats.
Physical examination may sometimes reveal low blood pressure, a high heart rate, or a low oxygen saturation. Struggling to breathe, confusion, and blue-tinged skin are signs of a medical emergency.
Findings from physical examination of the lungs may be normal, but often show decreased expansion of the chest on the affected side. Harsher sounds from the larger airways transmitted through the inflamed lung are heard as bronchial breathing on auscultation with a stethoscope. Rales (or crackles) may be heard over the affected area during inspiration. Percussion may be dulled over the affected lung, and increased rather than decreased vocal resonance distinguishes pneumonia from a pleural effusion. Because some of these signs are subjective, physical examination alone is insufficient to diagnose or rule out pneumonia.
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