Nearly 80% of coronavirus cases either have no symptoms or mild symptoms similar to the seasonal flu. However, for more severe cases where the patient needs to be hospitalized, pneumonia is one of the complications.
Pneumonia symptoms include fever, cough, chest pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Since many of these symptoms are common in COVID-19 patients as well, it can be difficult to tell the difference without going to a doctor.
Fortunately, there’s a way to distinguish the two thanks to the compiled information we’ve listed below.
Knowing The Difference Between Pneumonia And COVID-19 Symptoms
It can be hard to say how many COVID-19 patients will develop pneumonia even when you closely examine the symptoms. Pneumonia in tandem with COVID-19 can be fatal. But the two can still be differentiated with a medical professional.
The difference between the two is generally determined in a clinical setting. If you are suffering from COVID-19 and your condition worsens with respiratory deterioration and fevers, pneumonia could be one of the complications suspected by the doctors.
Your doctor might order a CT scan or an x-ray since a viral infection (like COVID-19) and bacterial pneumonia look very different on imaging.
How is Pneumonia Connected to COVID-19?
Pneumonia is a severe infection of the lungs that can be fatal, especially when the infection resides in an elderly individual. When COVID-19 (which is a respiratory illness) spreads to the lungs, it can cause pneumonia.
The novel coronavirus can progress through the respiratory tract of the patient and then into their lungs, causing inflammation. As a result, the lungs’ air sacs get filled with pus and fluid, limiting the infected person’s ability to breathe oxygen.
While most people recover, a few develop severe pneumonia that doesn’t respond to any currently available treatments.
When someone has a severe case of pneumonia, their lungs can become so inflamed that they simply can’t take in sufficient oxygen or breathe out enough carbon dioxide. This constant deprivation of oxygen can damage several organs and lead to heart failure and/or kidney failure (to name a few conditions).
The World Health Organization has concluded that severe pneumonia is the most common diagnosis for severe COVID-19.
Keep An Eye On These Pneumonia Symptoms
If you or someone you know are displaying the following pneumonia symptoms, see a doctor immediately.
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble breathing deeply
- Shortness of breath
People with a weak immune system or weak lungs are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19-related pneumonia. In other words, anyone suffering from liver/kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, COPD, cancer, or high blood pressure is at risk. People over the age of 65 years are also highly vulnerable.
Getting Tested For Both Pneumonia And COVID-19
If you suspect your symptoms are related to COVID-19 and/or pneumonia, your doctor will test you for both.
To diagnose COVID-19, your doctor will take a swab from your mouth and nose. To diagnose pneumonia, they will likely perform an x-ray, a CT scan, or some other sort of imaging scan.
Contact 24 Hour Docs To Know More About Your Symptoms
If you are feeling mild symptoms that fall under pneumonia or COVID-19, set up a video consultation with one of our board-certified doctors. They will evaluate your symptoms and your medical history to help diagnose and manage your condition.