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Can you have pneumonia without a cough?

Medically reviewed by Sally Chao, MD. Last updated on Oct 6, 2021.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Yes, you can have pneumonia without the telltale cough.

While a cough that produces mucus and phlegm is a typical symptom of pneumonia, it is not a given. It is also possible to develop pneumonia without a fever.

Pneumonia symptoms may include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Low energy
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion

Caused by a virus, bacteria or fungus, pneumonia is a lung infection characterized by inflammation of the air sacs in your lungs (the alveoli).

Symptoms vary widely based upon the type of pneumonia and its severity, as well as your age and/or medical history. Some newborns or infants have no typical pneumonia symptoms. Older adults may become confused and have a low body temperature when they come down with pneumonia.

Pneumonia is diagnosed by a thorough physical exam along with blood tests and a chest X-ray. Other tests may also be necessary to identify the cause of the pneumonia.

Treatment for pneumonia may include:

  • Self-care such as rest, adequate hydration and symptom management
  • Antibiotics
  • Antiviral or antifungal medication

Pneumonia recovery takes time. You might feel better within a week, or it may take a month or longer to start feeling like yourself again.

References
  1. American Thoracic Society. What is Pneumonia? October 2020. Available at: https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/what-is-pneumonia.pdf. [Accessed September 10, 2021].
  2. American Lung Association. Pneumonia Symptoms and Diagnosis. July 30, 2021. Available at: https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pneumonia/symptoms-and-diagnosis. [Accessed September 10, 2021].
  3. American Lung Association. Pneumonia Treatment and Recovery. August 16, 2021. Available at: https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pneumonia/treatment-and-recovery. [Accessed September 10, 2021].

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