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Viral Pneumonia

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is viral pneumonia?

Viral pneumonia is a lung infection caused by a virus, such as those that cause the flu or COVID-19. You can get a viral infection by breathing in the virus or by touching something that has the virus on it. Viral pneumonia can develop if a virus in your body travels to your lungs. Your risk for viral pneumonia is higher if you are older than 65 or have lung or heart disease. Your risk is also higher if you have a weakened immune system.

The Lungs

What are the signs and symptoms of viral pneumonia?

Signs and symptoms may develop slowly over several days. Your signs and symptoms may be different if you are older than 65 years. You may be confused or have aches and pains instead of the following more typical symptoms:

How is viral pneumonia diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms and examine you. Your provider will listen to your heart and lungs. Tell your provider if you have been around anyone who is sick. You may need any of the following:

How is viral pneumonia treated?

Most people with viral pneumonia are treated at home. Older adults and people with health problems may need to stay in the hospital. You may need any of the following:

How can I manage my symptoms?

How can I prevent viral pneumonia?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.