Little known pneumonia symptom can be seen in the fingertips – see a GP

Like many conditions, pneumonia is an illness most dangerous to vulnerable people including the old and very young.

It occurs when the lungs become inflamed, which is usually caused by an infection such as flu and COVID-19.

Some types of pneumonia can actually be contagious, if infected cough, sneeze or talk, sending respiratory droplets into the air that are then breathed in by others.

In recent weeks, health bodies across the world have voiced concerns as a surge in pneumonia cases among children has been reported in China.

It has now reached the stage where the World Health Organisation (WHO) has made an official request to Chinese authorities for “detailed information” on the outbreak.

While many people will recover from pneumonia within a week, it can be severe, resulting in hospitalisations and even death.

Therefore, spotting any potential signs of the illness is vital.

Many of the symptoms are what you would expect from a lung infection, such as a cough, shortness of breath and chest pain.

However, there are some more unusual signs you might not expect.

One such sign can appear on the fingers, according to WebMD.

The health information site states that fingernails turning blue are a “common” symptom of pneumonia.

It adds that skin, lips, or fingertips that “look blue” can also signal the illness in children.

“Pneumonia symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on what’s causing the illness and how healthy you are in general,” WebMD explains.

However, it warns that many of the common symptoms could be mistaken for a cold or the flu.

Other signs to look out for include:

  • High fever, up to 40.5C
  • Coughing up greenish, yellow, or bloody mucus
  • Chills that make you shake
  • Feeling like you can’t catch your breath, especially when you move around a lot
  • Feeling very tired
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sharp or stabbing chest pain (you might feel it more when you cough or take a deep breath)
  • Sweating a lot
  • Fast breathing and heartbeat
  • Confusion (in older people).

When children have pneumonia the symptoms might be “harder” to spot.

But they can include:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Wheezing.

WebMD adds: “Symptoms in babies might be vague, like fussiness or trouble feeding.”

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of pneumonia you should arrange to see a GP.

According to the NHS, you should call 999 or go to A&E if:

  • You’re struggling to breathe – you’re choking, gasping and unable to speak
  • You have pale, blue or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
  • You suddenly feel confused – for example, you do not know where you are
  • You cannot wake your baby and they feel floppy.

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