Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Pneumonia symptoms

1-minute read

Pneumonia can be a mild illness or it can be something much more serious. Quite often, people with pneumonia have previously had cold or flu symptoms for a few days or weeks that have got worse, not better.

The most common symptoms of pneumonia are:

  • cough – can be dry or may produce thick mucus
  • fevers (usually above 38.5°C), sweating and shivering
  • difficulty breathing, or rapid breathing (especially in young children)
  • feeling generally tired and unwell
  • loss of appetite

People with pneumonia may also:

  • have a headache
  • have pain in the chest that is worse with breathing
  • cough up blood
  • feel nauseous and maybe even vomit
  • ache all over
  • be confused or disorientated (especially in older people)
  • have a blue colour around the mouth (cyanosis), due to by lack of oxygen in more serious cases

It is worth knowing that even after the pneumonia has been treated successfully, the cough may last for a couple of weeks. If you suspect that you or someone in your care may have pneumonia, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. If the person affected has trouble breathing, they should go to the nearest Emergency Department.

Last reviewed: November 2016

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results


Pneumonia is a serious lung infection caused by a virus or bacteria.

Read more on WA Health website

Pneumonia symptoms -

The symptoms of pneumonia usually depend on the cause of the pneumonia, but some symptoms are common, such as dry or productive cough, chest pain, fever or chills and breathlessness.

Read more on myDr website

Pneumonia | Lung Foundation Australia

Pneumonia Pneumococcal pneumonia can affect anyone Adults aged 65 and over, no matter how healthy they feel, are at increased risk simply due to their age

Read more on Lung Foundation Australia website

Pneumonia symptoms and treatment information video | myVMC

Pneumonia is a serious lung infection. Pneumonia symptoms include fever and cough. Pneumonia treatment is with antibiotics.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Pneumonia: diagnosis and treatment -

Fit, young people usually recover fairly quickly from pneumonia in a week or 2. However, many people feel more tired than usual for several weeks after having pneumonia.

Read more on myDr website

Pneumonia in children -

Find out the symptoms of pneumonia in children, as well as common causes and treatment.

Read more on myDr website

Pneumonia | myVMC

Pneumonia is a common disease world-wide, mostly during winter. It is an acute lower respiratory tract infection. When the lung tissue becomes infected (whether it is bacteria, viruses, or fungi), the lung tissues becomes inflamed.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It can be caused by bacteria or viruses, and people who are ill for some other reason seem particularly likely to get pneumonia. People with pneumonia usually get short of breath because the infection blocks airways in the lungs, interfering with the movement of oxygen from the air into the blood.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Pneumonia in children and teenagers | Raising Children Network

Pneumonia is a lung infection. The symptoms of pneumonia in children include breathing changes, fever, a moist cough, increased irritability and tiredness.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Idiopathic interstitial pneumonia | myVMC

acute interstitial pneumonitisThe idiopathic interstitial pneumonia group of diseases can have similar clinical, radiographic and physiological presentations and are a subset of a group of diseases called Interstitial lung disease

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo