Pneumonia is caused by viral infections like the common cold, the flu or even COVID-19, but can also be caused by bacteria, fungi or other microorganisms.

Pneumonia causes inflammation in the tiny air sacs in your lungs. Your lungs may also fill up with fluid or pus, making it harder to breathe.


Because the symptoms of pneumonia are similar to COPD flare-ups, it is easy to confuse the two. Here's what to watch for:

  • Severe shortness of breath or more rapid breathing
  • Pain in one area of the chest with deep breaths
  • Cough with more mucus than usual or a change in mucus color
  • Fever over 100.5 degrees or shaking chills
  • More rapid heart rate
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Pneumonia can also lead to other problems like kidney damage, stroke and heart attack. Contact your doctor as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.

COPD and Pneumonia

Pneumonia is especially dangerous for COPD patients because it raises your chance of respiratory failure – a serious condition that can mean your body is not getting the oxygen it needs.

It is very important for people with COPD to take precautions to prevent contracting COVID-19.

Along with regular hand washing, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you receive the following vaccines:

  • Influenza (flu)
  • Pneumococcal (pneumonia, meningitis)
  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough/pertussis)

COVID-19 and Pneumonia

If you have COVID-19 and get pneumonia, the irritation is more widespread and affects multiple locations, so the pain in your chest may be in more than one location.

Common early signs of COVID-19 are fever, a dry cough, and shortness of breath, but other symptoms may arise.

If you have COVID-19, look out for these symptoms that may indicate you are developing pneumonia:

  • Shortness of breath or breathlessness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy sweating

If you experience these symptoms, call your doctor right away or go to the nearest emergency room.

Call 240-677-3000 to schedule an appointment.


Pneumonia Badge