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cazzie's avatar

Can you tell from your own cough if you have pneumonia or not?

Asked by cazzie (18315 points ) March 29th, 2012

I have never had pneumonia, but I have had a cold and a cough that has changed from a dry gag-rendering cough to a wet phlegmy cough, now to a very persistant cough that takes ages to bring anything up and it just won’t quit. After a cough fit, I get such a nasty hot rush.

Before you all jump on me about going to the doctor, I have a call in and am waiting for an appointment time. But, is this just a nasty cough? It is driving me crazy!

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23 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t think you can, but how is your breathing. What happens if you try a deep breath?

cazzie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I end up coughing.

marinelife's avatar

Do you have a fever? Can you lay down without coughing? Low energy? The only way to tell if it is pneumonia is with a test.

cazzie's avatar

No fever right now. I think I feel better when I lay down and take small breaths. Super tired. I am probably being over-worried. I have known for a while I need a rest, but I just haven’t got one.

creative1's avatar

A doctor will listen to your lungs to be able to diagnose you

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Cazzie go to a Dr, internet diagnosis or waiting can get you in the hospital gravely ill.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@cazzie Doesn’t sound horrible but not good either. Let us know how you make out and don’t get so tired out. Yeah, like we all don’t. :)

cazzie's avatar

I am going to the doctor, @Tropical_Willie.

I have never had pneumonia and wondered if someone who has had it could tell me what it felt like. I knew a lady who thought she just had a cough, but she later told me she had something called ‘walking pneumonia’

I think my idea and other’s idea of gravely ill is quite different.
I have been seriously ill and worked through it so don’t anyone panic on my behalf. They have to take me to the hospital on a stretcher to get a half day off.

Perhaps it is just some bronchitis. Anyway, I will get back to my doctor. I have already been through antibiotics for a strep infection with this cold this month. Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

My heart goes out to you. It’s draining to have a lingering illness. The description sounds very much like bronchitis. There are two types: Acute and Chronic. Since it’s now a lingering dry cough, it might be the Acute type. It can take weeks for it to finally clear up. I’m fairly certain that antibiotics are not prescribed…just cough medicine, plenty of fluids, rest and patience.

Pneumonia almost always has to be diagnosed by a healthcare professional. They will listen for specific sounds in the lungs, and it may require running tests, like an x-ray, oxygen levels, etc. Antibiotics are required to cure it. Most importantly, it’s not something to mess around with, so it’s wise of you to visit your doctor.

Let us know what the diagnosis is. And know that we are wishing for a speedy recovery.

gailcalled's avatar

@cazzie: I am sorry that you have this issue also to contend with.

“Sick and tired of being sick and tired” is very telling. I’d be sick and tired if I led your life, from what you tell us here.

cazzie's avatar

Thanks guys. I am run down and trying to get an appointment with my doctor. This time of year knocks me around. It is cold and wet and I am always out in it walking, standing and waiting for a bus, walking to my little one’s school 2km through the woods.

The way it is sounding now and feeling… (like that metallic taste when it is dry and rumbling in the chest right at the top of the breastbone), I think it is bronchitis. It has been just over a month now and I am usually quite healthy. People who have had this bout of cold/flu have told me that it lingers like a bludging relative.

We don’t get the nice cold and flu medicine over the counter like you lot in America. No Nyquil to be had here for an easy nights rest. I drank 1.5 liters of orange juice yesterday as I worked at the store.

As Dory taught me, I sing, ‘Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming…’

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I don’t think bronchitis or pneumonia are attributed to the weather. Both stem from exposure to bacteria. There are certain living factors that make one more susceptible: smoking, work conditions, and being in a hospital are a few.

As for the flu medicine, it just helps control the symptoms and doesn’t expedite the recovery process. It just takes an inordinate amount of time that always seems like forever. Drinking orange juice is good; consuming water is even better. Throat lozenges might assist in keeping the cough at bay. At minimum, they will help lubricate your throat. It also sounds like your body needs a good rest. Is there any way you can make this happen?

redhen4's avatar

I’ve had both walking pneumonia and pneumonia. Both “kicked my butt” and I was off work 2–3 weeks. Oddly enough I was off work longer with the walking pneumonia.

I thought I had a bad case of the flu last year and went to the doctor. My oxygen intake was 82 vs 100. Sent me right across the street to the hospital ER. I was in the hospital for 5 days with both pneumonia and the flu (it was bad here last year) and they thought I had Valley Fever on top of it all. I did have a fever.

When I did get to go home I had breathing treatments and could not go anywhere for a while and not without oxygen tanks and breathing tubes.

My symptoms: besides feeling like I had the flu, my breathing was difficult. I would have to prop up or sit in a chair to sleep. There was a weight on my chest or heavy tight feeling when I took in a breath, and could not take in a deep breath at all. And just felt drained and weak.

The weakness from pneumonia is, I think, different that the flu. I could barely get from point a to point b without feeling totally exhausted. The “who drained all my blood” kinda loss of energy.

Hope you get to a doctor soon!

wilma's avatar

I had pneumonia a month ago. I had a cold, it wasn’t going away but wasn’t severe. It started in my head and then moved to my chest. A bad cough and chest congestion. On about day 8 or 9 of the cold all of a sudden I was very tired and just felt like I had to lie down. Not like my usual self at all. When I coughed the left side of my back, a bit above my waist hurt. It was quite a sharp pain. I called my Dr. office and they worked me in. I had to wait a while in the waiting room and the gal at the desk came out and got me after she saw that I was getting worse by the minute. She put me in a more private waiting area. She said it was so I would be more comfortable, but I’m sure it was to keep me away from the other patients.
I did have pneumonia in my left lower lung that was diagnosed by my Dr. as she listened to me with a stethoscope. I was on an antibiotic within an hour and a few days later I was feeling much better. The cough lasted a few more weeks and I am just now free of it.
I’m glad that you will be seen by your Dr. I hope you’re feeling better soon.

cazzie's avatar

@redhen4 GA! thank you very much. I am being too worried, then. If anything it is probably bronchitis or just a bad cough left over from this nasty cold and flu I have had.

cazzie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I know you don’t get sick from the weather, but it has contributed, I am sure, to the length of my illness, because I have been out in it, and being cold and wet will lower one’s ability to fight off illness.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Nope. Pneumonia is inflamation of the micro air sacs of the lungs. There is no way to tell from a cough if your lung is inflamed.

There are many causes of pneumonia and although bacteria is one of them it is not only one.

WestRiverrat's avatar

It may be Bronchitis brought on by allergies. If it happens every year at about the same time there is probably something you are allergic to that is contributing to your condition.

And over time allergies can change, what was once mild may over time become more severe, or vice versa. My sister was allergic to bees when we were children, now bee stings don’t bother her any more. She still avoids them, but she no longer needs her epi pen when she is stung.

cazzie's avatar

Nothing blooming here yet to be allergic to. Also, this has happened since a very bad cold/flu and throat infection. This is cold related.

JLeslie's avatar

It is very typical for a cough to take 3 weeks to go away. If your coughing is mostly jags in the middle of the night, or upon wakening, but happening less and less during the day, and you actually bring up some stuff eventually when you do cough, I think you are gettng better.

If it lasts more than three weeks, gets worse, is green, is throughout the day, or you start to feel much worse in general I would see a doc, you might need an antibiotic.

Bent's avatar

I’ve had pneumonia once following a bout of flu and one of the key symptoms was coughing up brown phlegm. Plus, spending about four weeks feeling like the undead. A course of antibiotics soon knocked it off though, and I didn’t need to go to hospital.

dubsrayboo's avatar

A few years ago I had double pulmonary pneumonia. I was coughing up blood with my phlegm. It felt like a mac truck was sitting on my chest if I laid down. They gave my first anti-biotic in a thick shot in my hip. I was out for about two weeks. I then had to get a blood oxygen test (OUCH!) and they tested my breathing while I was sleeping. It was a horrible ordeal.

It doesn’t sound like you are experiencing anything like that. I wish you the best!

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