Pneumonia or Something Else? Your Googlechondriac Questions Answered

pneumoniaThe flu, you know the symptoms–it starts with a cough and fever–just like pneumonia which is the problem.

“Pneumonia is scary,” Dr. Janna Massar of Texas Health Plano said. When somebody tells you you’ve got pneumonia patients are scared.”

Pneumonia is especially dangerous for adults over 65 and kids under 5 but Dr. Massar said everyone should take note if their cold or flu-like symptoms last longer than they should.

“If you’re having a fever that lasts more than 48 hours, if somebody is coughing up productive phlegm and if you feel particularly bad and not able to care for yourself you know your system is getting hit harder than it would with a viral illness,” Dr. Massar said. “You need to take care.”

Most of us can tough out a common cold or the flu but pneumonia–not so much. Dr. Massar said bacterial pneumonia won’t go away on its own.

“Pneumonia can often follow an upper respiratory infection which would be of a viral nature like flu or cold,” Dr. Massar said. “If you’ve had a viral illness and got better for a little while and the worsened and then began running a fever and having a productive cough you could suspect pneumonia and be evaluated at that time.”

Evaluation and a chest x-ray isn’t something you’ll get surfing the internet–but hey, we found some great images of people with pneumonia.

The only way you’ll get one of these is by making an appointment and the earlier you do the better off you’ll be.

“If you have a fever, cough, congestion and generally feel ill, more than you would with a common cold you can suspect pneumonia.”

Pneumonia isn’t something to self-diagnose from your living room–maybe it’s something else like a nagging cough that will eventually go away on its own.

“If you see improvement after your initial cold type symptoms and all you have is residual cough most of the time that is from ongoing airway inflammation,” Dr. Massar said.


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