br12Pneumonia is inflammation and swelling of the tissue in one or both lungs, most commonly caused by an infection, usually bacterial or occasionally viral. The symptoms of pneumonia include a cough, fever, rapid heartbeat, sweating and shivering, loss of appetite, chest pain and difficulty breathing; i.e. breathing may be rapid and shallow and you may feel breathless, even when resting.

For people with pre-existing health conditions, pneumonia can be severe and may need to be treated in hospital. Mild pneumonia can usually be treated at home with rest, plenty of fluids, painkillers and antibiotics (unless you have viral pneumonia, where antibiotics have no effect – your body’s immune system will have to fight the viral infection by creating antibodies to it). Most people recover well, but you may continue to cough for two to three weeks after finishing your course of antibiotics.

Although it may be keeping you awake, coughing is necessary to clear mucus from your lungs, so trying to stop it could make the infection last longer. A warm drink of honey and lemon can help relieve the discomfort caused by coughing.

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