Atypical pneumonia can be contagious

Inflammation of the lungs (pneumonia)

The following symptoms often make adult patients aware of their pneumonia:

  • fever
  • chills
  • Difficulty breathing
  • to cough

Sometimes, however, some of the symptoms are absent or are only mild, for example there is pneumonia without a cough. Doctors therefore speak of typical and atypical pneumonia.

Typical pneumonia

Typical pneumonia often starts violently and quickly with pronounced symptoms such as chills and a rapid rise in body temperature. The Fever can climb to 40 degrees. Other typical symptoms are coughs with rust-brown sputum. Patients often feel weak and tired. Older people in particular often show up too confused or dawn.

Also Breath-dependent chest pain can be added, this is then a sign of additional inflammation of the pleura. Depending on the severity of the disease, breathing is impaired to a greater or lesser extent. The body tries to reduce oxygen uptake through a higher breathing rate to balance out that too Pulse rate is increased. If these measures of the body are not sufficient to remedy the lack of oxygen, the Lips and the nail bed discolour bluish.

Without antibiotics, the fever drops by the end of the first week of illness, if there are no complications. Doctors speak of the crisis. The cardiovascular system is heavily stressed and the pulse rate slows down significantly. After a further one to two weeks, the patient will ideally have survived the illness, although the general feeling of weakness and slight shortness of breath can persist even longer.

Atypical pneumonia

The atypical pneumonia is for the most part caused by viruses or so-calledMycoplasma caused, these are the smallest known bacteria. In contrast to typical pneumonia, the classic pathogen of which is the type of bacteria pneumococci, the symptoms develop much more slowly, so that the full clinical picture usually takes several days to develop.

The patients are generally younger and healthier than with classic pneumonia. Standing in atypical pneumonia Headache and body aches in the foreground, with the General condition usually little affected is. Chills rarely occur, and the temperature curve is not very steep. Those affected suffer much less often with shortness of breath than is the case with classic bacterial pneumonia. The cough is dry and long-lasting, doctors speak of a so-called unproductive dry coughbecause patients do not cough up any phlegm.

Detect "cold" pneumonia without a fever

In another variation of pneumonia, fever is completely absent as a symptom. For this reason, this type of pneumonia without fever is popularly known as "cold pneumonia." Symptoms can also occur here that do not occur in other forms of pneumonia: for example, back pain in cold pneumonia and cold hands in children can be added to the typical symptoms.

Symptoms of cold pneumonia include:

  • dry, irritating cough, no coughing up of phlegm
  • no fever or very low fever
  • jerky, heavy breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sensation of tightness in the chest

Confusion: pneumonia or bronchitis

It is often difficult for doctors to differentiate between inflammation of the lungs and bronchitis. With bronchitis, the mucous membranes of the bronchi or the windpipe are inflamed and the symptoms are similar to those of pneumonia. Viruses usually cause bronchitis, while Pneumonia often caused by bacteria is triggered.

Antibiotics can therefore help against pneumonia. An X-ray of the chest area helps doctors differentiate between bronchitis and pneumonia: Pneumonia shows up as so-called shadowing in the chest area: foci of inflammation are seen as a compression and cause a lightening in the image. However, bronchitis cannot be seen on an X-ray.

Pneumonia in Children

Children and adults often develop different signs of pneumonia. Symptoms that practically only occur in children are, for example, a bloated stomach as Headache and body aches. Pneumonia in children can often be recognized by changes in behavior, especially if the little ones cannot speak yet. Infants have bacterial pneumonia high fever, while in pneumonia caused by viruses the fever curve hardly any values ​​above 38.5 ° C exceeds. First Signs can be:

  • Child looks dull and pale
  • sometimes high fever
  • Bloated abdomen and skin retraction of the chest
  • erect nostrils on inhalation
  • rapid breathing (tachypnea) especially in infants and young children
  • Unwillingness to drink
  • decreased appetite
  • particularly high heart rate

Also belong in children strong coughwhich, depending on the cause of the pneumonia, is accompanied by mucus or dry, and a general malaise are the classic signs of pneumonia. As in adults, the cough is common in children greenish or yellowish expectoration accompanied. When you can cough up Chest pain occur, sometimes radiating to the right lower abdomen. In children, an inflammation of the middle ear or eardrum can also often be observed. Depending on the course, pneumonia in toddlers and babies often has to be treated as an inpatient in hospital.