What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Most infections are due either to bacteria or to viruses. Pneumonia can also be caused by fungi, particularly in people whose immune systems aren’t working properly.
Pneumonia can be a mild illness or it can be something much more serious. If you or someone you are caring for seems to be recovering well from a cold or the flu and then suddenly they get worse, it could be pneumonia. The illness can be life threatening, especially in babies, young children and the elderly, so it’s important to see a doctor right away.
The most common signs and symptoms are:
- fevers, sweating and shivering
- difficulty breathing
- feeling generally tired and unwell
- loss of appetite.
Check your symptoms with healthdirect’s Symptom Checker for advice on when to seek medical attention.
Last reviewed: February 2017