Symptoms and Complications of Bacterial Pneumonia

Bacterial pneumonia is a severe infection that affects the lungs and causes typical symptoms such as fever, coughing with phlegm, and difficulty breathing, which often develops and manifests after flu or cold that does not go away or that gets worse over time.

Bacterial pneumonia is usually caused by the bacteria in Streptococcus pneumonia, however, other etiologic agents such as Klebsiella pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Legionella pneumophila can also cause the disease.

Bacterial pneumonia is usually not contagious and can be treated at home by taking antibiotics prescribed by the doctor. However, in the case of babies or elderly patients, hospitalization may be necessary.


Depending on factors including the type of germ causing the infection, the age of patients, and general health, the symptoms and signs of bacterial pneumonia may vary from mild to severe. In cases where the symptoms are mild, symptoms often look like that of cold or flu symptoms, although they persist for longer periods.

Pneumonia is often preceded by symptoms of a respiratory illness (runny nose, sore or sore throat, dry cough). Pathology develops sharply. The first sign is an unmotivated increase in body temperature to febrile values. The inflammatory process in the lungs is manifested by a cough, at first dry, then with sputum production. There may be chest pain associated with coughing or chest breathing. The combination of the listed symptoms in an adult without concomitant pathology is considered a reason to suspect pneumonia (a comprehensive examination is carried out to establish the final diagnosis).

The manifestations of the disease in children and the elderly have some peculiarities. Older people are more likely to complain of symptoms of intoxication (weakness, drowsiness, lack of appetite) and cough. Body temperature readings can remain normal. At the age of 70+, the first manifestation of pneumonia may be the transition of chronic disease to a decompensated stage.

In young patients, there is a high fever and weakness, while the cough may be weak or absent. In children, the first manifestations of pneumonia may be symptoms of respiratory failure (shortness of breath, blue nasolabial triangle).

Some forms of pneumonia are manifested by “atypical” symptoms, which is associated with the microbiological characteristics of the pathogen. These include headaches and muscle pains, diarrhea, and neurological symptoms.

The most common symptoms of bacterial pneumonia are explained below;