Pneumonia refers to a swelling of the tissue in one or both of your lungs.
When you have pneumonia, the alveoli – tiny air sacs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged – fill with fluid.
It affects around 8 in 1,000 adults a year, and it’s more common in autumn and winter.
While it can severely affect people of any age, it’s more common and can be more serious among the young or elderly.
Bacteria and viruses are behind most cases of pneumonia – but it can also be caused by physical injury, chemicals such as chlorine fumes, or infectious agents such as parasites and fungi.
Last year, a report revealed that 80 people in Britain die from flu and pneumonia each day.
There’s also what’s known as ‘walking pneumonia’ – so-called because sufferers feel well enough to get up and around.
Unfortunately, this can lead to a delay in diagnosis and ultimately means symptoms can get worse.
What are the symptoms of pneumonia?
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Symptoms may be different than the signs of infection shown in adults.
While pneumonia symptoms are similar to other illnesses, such as a chest infection – they can develop in as fast as 24 hours, or over a more gradual period.
The infection;’s development can also depend on the age of the sufferer.
Atypical or walking pneumonia is prevalent among school-age children. They may not feel ill enough to demand a day of school, but they could be tired, suffering from headaches, a minor feever or a dry cough.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae is responsible for up to 20 per cent of adult pneumonia cases.
Common symptoms include a dry or phlegm-y cough – and breathing may be rapid and shallow, you may feel…