How Long Does Pneumonia Cough Last
Most coughs from pneumonia last for 2 weeks. Some people have significant coughs for 3 weeks. About 20% of people may have lingering coughs for a month. It is very uncommon for pneumonia cough to last longer than six weeks. If you still have coughs six weeks after pneumonia, you need to see your doctor to make sure you havent developed anything else.
With regular community-acquired pneumonia, early coughs are usually associated with lots of phlegm. When pneumonia is active, there is significant inflammation inside your lungs. White blood cells and fluids rush to your lungs to fight the infection. Your cough helps get rid of these waste products in the form of thick, yellow phlegm. After about a week, your cough may produce more of a rusty-colored phlegm, as WBCs decrease while dried blood and dead cells increase. As more time passes, you may have more dry coughs than coughs with phlegm.
Causes Of Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia can be caused by viruses or bacteria. According to the American Lung Association, most cases are caused by M. pneumoniae, a common type of bacteria that usually affects children and adults under the age of 40. M. pneumoniae infections tend to peak in summer and early fall but can happen throughout the year.
Chlamydophila pneumoniae can also cause walking pneumonia. Infections from this type of bacteria are common in all four seasons. It often spreads in crowded environments, like college dorms and long-term care facilities.
Adults and children can also contract walking pneumonia from viruses. Respiratory syncytial virus is a frequent cause of walking pneumonia in young kids, while adults tend to get the viral form of the disease from the influenza virus.
Can Pneumonia Be Prevented
Check with your healthcare provider about getting immunizations. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia. Because of that, getting a flu shot every year can help prevent both the flu and pneumonia.
There is also a pneumococcal vaccine. It will protect you from a common form of bacterial pneumonia. Children younger than age 5 and adults ages 65 and older should get this shot.
The pneumococcal shot is also recommended for all children and adults who are at increased risk of pneumococcal disease due to other health conditions.
Recommended Reading: Best Pneumonia Vaccine For 65 And Older
Pneumonia Symptoms And Causes
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, including bacteria, viruses, airborne irritants, and fungi. When these germs enter the lungs, they can overpower the immune system and invade nearby lung tissues, which are very delicate.
Once infected, the air sacs in the lungs become inflamed and fill up with fluid and pus, which causes coughing, fever, chills, and breathing problems.
Read Also: Is Pneumonia Vaccine Every Year
What Increases Your Risk Factors For Walking Pneumonia
Like pneumonia, the risk for developing walking pneumonia is higher if you are:
- over age of 65 years old
- 2 years old or younger
Since walking pneumonia tends to be mild, some people with the illness choose not to get a formal diagnosis. But other serious diseases can cause symptoms that look like walking pneumonia. If symptoms continue to worsen after a few days, consider checking in with a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment for walking pneumonia depends on whats causing the disease. Walking pneumonia from bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. A healthcare professional may use antiviral medications to treat cases caused by viruses.
For very mild cases of walking pneumonia, treatment may simply involve managing symptoms at home and resting.
Don’t Miss: Will A Zpack Treat Pneumonia
Why Is My Dry Cough Worse At Night
A dry cough that is worse at night may due to gastroesophageal reflux disease , asthma, and post-nasal drip. GERD can worsen at night when you lie down as stomach contents, particularly stomach acid, can reflux out of the stomach and cause cough. Asthma can be due to cold, dry air often present at night. Post-nasal drip can also cause more coughing when you lie flat.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Name Of The Pneumonia Vaccine
Were Committed To Providing Free Up
Over 6.5 million people in the UK have a lung condition breathing isnt something they take for granted.
We want to give people with lung conditions the knowledge they need to live well.
Your support helps make sure that we can continue to provide free advice and information when people need it most.
If you find our health advice useful, please consider making a small donation today.
Recommended Reading: What Is Pneumonia And What Are The Symptoms
What Health Complications Can Pneumonia Lead To
If you have flu-like symptoms that persist or worsen despite treatment, talk to your doctor.
Your doctor can monitor your lungs while you inhale, listening for crackling sounds that are audible only with a stethoscope.
In order to confirm the diagnosis and identify the specific germ causing the illness, you may get a chest X-ray as well as a blood test, depending on your medical history and physical exam, if your doctor suspects that you have pneumonia.
If left untreated, pneumonia can become severe.
People with severe pneumonia experience higher fevers along with GI symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea, as well as:
- Difficulty breathing
Recommended Reading: Child Chest X Ray Pneumonia
Could Your Persistent Cough Be Walking Pneumonia
You might expect that if you had pneumonia, youd know it. Its reasonable to assume that a severe lung infection would likely stop you in your tracks and cause hard-to-miss symptoms like a wet cough, difficulty breathing, fever and chills.
But if you have some minor cold-like symptoms, such as a low-grade fever, along with a persistent dry, hacking cough that just wont quit, you could actually have a form of the infection called atypical or walking pneumonia that can be mild.
Walking pneumonia can last longer, and you may not feel as sick, as its symptoms are less pronounced. People who have walking pneumonia may think they have a common cold.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Incubation Period For Pneumonia
A Prompt Diagnosis For Proper Treatment
If you suspect your loved one may have pneumonia, you should call a doctor right away. Earlier diagnosis can lead to faster treatment that promotes better outcomes especially for seniors who are at a higher risk of developing serious complications.
A doctor will conduct a physical exam and may order imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment will depend on whether the pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses, or other types of infection.
Bacterial pneumonia comes on gradually or suddenly and is typically treated with antibiotics.
Viral pneumonia usually develops over several days and may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, so viral pneumonia is generally treated with supportive care such as increased fluid intake, over-the-counter medications, and rest.
Older adults who experience severe pneumonia symptoms or have other health problems may need to be hospitalized. While in the hospital, treatment may include intravenous antibiotics, respiratory therapy, and oxygen therapy. Doctors will also watch for signs of complications.
What Happens To Your Lungs When You Get Covid
COVID-19 virus infection is so far the worst battle that mankind has ever witnessed. It is a severe respiratory disease that mainly targets the lungs, leading to several serious symptoms such as drop-in oxygen levels, trouble in breathing, etc. So what exactly happens to your lungs when you catch the virus? According to the studies, the virus gets into the body through respiratory organs such as the mouth, nose, etc. After entering the body the virus comes in contact with the mucous membranes which are present in the respiratory tract innings. The virus then enters one healthy cell and the cell, in turn, makes new virus parts. This one cell then multiplies, and the new viruses then infect the other cells present nearby. The virus then splits into smaller and smaller branches in the lungs. Thus infecting the lungs and the alveoli slowly, leading to symptoms like breathing issues, cough, etc.
Read Also: Does Walgreens Have Pneumonia Shots
When Should You Be Worried About A Dry Cough As A Sign Of Covid
If you have trouble breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, new confusion, blue lips, or cannot stay awake, seek medical attention ASAP.
If you develop a dry cough, its very possible that you could simply be dealing with allergies, being inside all day , or other environmental factors.
But it may also be pointing to COVID-19so its important to pay attention to other signs of the virus, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those symptoms can include but are not limited to:
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
New loss of taste or smell
Nausea or vomiting
Again, you dont necessarily need to have a dry cough in order to have COVID-19. Its usually a dry cough, but a productive one can also occur, Richard Watkins, M.D., an infectious disease physician and professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University.
Any cough thats linked with a fever over 100.4° F should be concerning, Dr. Parikh says. Ditto if you happen to develop a cough without a fever and youre not sure whats causing it, says Thomas Russo, M.D., professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York. If you have a cough or any of the symptoms of COVID-19, its really best to test yourself, just to be safe, Dr. Russo says, whether you do it with an at-home test, your doctors office, or a testing facility.
What Are The Complications Of Pneumonia
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can be very serious and even deadly.
You are more likely to have complications if you are an older adult, a very young child, have a weakened immune system, or have a serious medical problem like diabetes or cirrhosis. Complications may include:
Acute respiratory distress syndrome . This is a severe form of respiratory failure.
Lung abscesses. These are pockets of pus that form inside or around the lung. They may need to be drained with surgery
Respiratory failure. This requires the use of a breathing machine or ventilator.
This is when the infection gets into the blood. It may lead to organ failure.
Also Check: What To Do For Walking Pneumonia
Bacterial Vs Viral Pneumonia Symptoms
Bacteria and viruses are the most common causes of pneumonia. Fungi and parasites can sometimes cause it.
When the cause is bacteria, the illness can come on either slowly or quickly. It tends to be more serious than other types.
When a virus causes your pneumonia, youâre more likely to notice symptoms over several days. Early signs will look like the flu — such as fever, dry cough, headache, and weakness — but get worse in a day or two.
What Can I Do At Home To Feel Better
In addition to taking any antibiotics and/or medicine your doctor prescribes, you should also:
- Get lots of rest. Rest will help your body fight the infection.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids will keep you hydrated. They can help loosen the mucus in your lungs. Try water, warm tea, and clear soups.
- Stop smoking if you smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoke can make your symptoms worse. Smoking also increases your risk of developing pneumonia and other lung problems in the future. You should also avoid lit fireplaces or other areas where the air may not be clean.
- Stay home from school or work until your symptoms go away. This usually means waiting until your fever breaks and you arent coughing up mucus. Ask your doctor when its okay for you to return to school or work.
- Use a cool-mist humidifier or take a warm bath. This will help clear your lungs and make it easier for you to breathe.
Don’t Miss: Allergic Reaction To Pneumonia Shot
When To Get A Persistent Cough Checked
If youre struggling with a lingering cough but not sick enough to stay in bed, it may be unclear exactly when to seek help. So, how do you know when to call the doctor?
If symptoms are out of the ordinary for you, if youre getting worse instead of better in that three to five day period, or if they persist, consider that it might be walking pneumonia as opposed to a typical cold, and check in with your doctor.
In order to diagnose walking pneumonia, your doctor will perform a physical exam. A chest x-ray and some additional tests may also be needed.
While its possible for people with walking pneumonia to recover without treatment, many patients with a confirmed Mycoplasma pneumonia infection benefit from antibiotics.
Antibiotics are very effective against walking pneumonia typically a five to seven day course is prescribed. It may take about 10 to 14 days before you actually start feeling back to baseline, but once the walking pneumonia is treated, symptoms should resolve completely.
Keep in mind however, walking pneumonia isnt always mild. Some cases are severe and require hospitalization.
When Does A Cough Turn Into Pneumonia
If you prefer to listen to this article, click on the SoundCloud player below.
So youve been coughing for a while, and instead of getting better, it seems like your cough is getting worse. Maybe youve even started coughing up phlegm or have pain in your chest when you cough. Those are signs your cough might actually be pneumonia.
Pneumonia is an infection in your lungs that can range from mild to life-threatening, which causes your lungs to fill up with fluid or pus. You may experience difficulty breathing or have a fever. If youre a healthy young adult, pneumonia might not be as serious as it is for very young kids or adults over age 65.
Whether youve had your cough for three days or three weeks, knowing the symptoms of pneumonia and when to go to the doctor can help put your mind at ease.
Also Check: What Medicine Is Used To Treat Pneumonia
Beware Of Chronic Chest Pains
Never ignore a mild to moderate chest pain post-COVID recovery, as you may not realise when it can turn into a severe symptom and lead to hospitalisation. One of the most common Long-COVID symptoms is chest pain. This can happen due to a lot of reasons, but patients suffering from pneumonia will experience the worst of it. “one may develop chest pain, which can get worse when breathing or coughing. Take this seriously and make sure to get tested for pneumonia without delay,” says Dr. Mukherjee.
When To See Your Doctor About A Cough That Wont Go Away
Its a good rule of thumb to make an appointment with your doctor or healthcare provider if your cough hasnt gone away after 3 weeks.
Your doctor can evaluate your cough and help identify any underlying conditions that may be causing or contributing to it.
Additionally, see your doctor right away for any cough that:
Don’t Miss: Can Pneumonia Cause Bloody Phlegm
Key Points About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasma pneumonia.
A cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus is the most common symptom of pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, shortness of breath, low energy, and extreme tiredness.
Pneumonia can often be diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Tests used to look at the lungs, blood tests, and tests done on the sputum you cough up may also be used.
Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. It may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have a specific treatment and just get better on their own. Other treatment may include a healthy diet, more fluids, rest, oxygen therapy, and medicine for pain, cough, and fever control.
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can cause serious lung and infection problems. It can even be deadly.
How Is Dry Cough Treated
You May Like: Bacterial Pneumonia Is It Contagious
Is Pneumonia Curable
A variety of infectious agents cause pneumonia. With proper recognition and treatment, many cases of pneumonia can be cleared without complications.
For bacterial infections, stopping your antibiotics early can cause the infection to not clear completely. This means your pneumonia could come back.
Stopping antibiotics early can also contribute to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic-resistant infections are more difficult to treat.
Viral pneumonia often resolves in 1 to 3 weeks with at-home treatment. In some cases, you may need antivirals.
Antifungal medications treat fungal pneumonia. It may require a longer period of treatment.
How Is Pcp Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider can diagnose PCP based on your health history and a physical exam. Your provider may also do these tests:
- Chest X-ray. This test uses a small amount of radiation to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs, including the lungs.
- Blood tests. Your provider may do blood tests to see if you have an infection and if it has spread to the blood. He or she may also do an arterial blood gas test to check the amount of oxygen in your blood.
- Sputum culture. This test is done on the material that is coughed up from the lungs and into the mouth. A sputum culture is often used to test for the PCP fungus in your lungs.
- Bronchoscopy. This is direct exam of the main airways of the lungs using a flexible tube .
Read Also: What To Eat If You Have Pneumonia