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Home :: Pneumonia, Viral

Viral Pneumonia

Lung infection caused by a virus. It is unlikely that others will develop pneumonia from exposure to a person with viral pneumonia. Respiratory infections of all sorts constitute the most common non-injury disorder seen among those who exercise. This is especially true with, team sports, with exposure to cold or harsh weather, or with exhaustive exercise before developing sufficient cardiovascular-pulmonary conditioning.


Viral pneumonia is caused by a virus infection, including influenza, chickenpox (especially in adults), common cold viruses, and measles or other systemic virus infections. These viruses are most likely to cause pneumonia in those who:

  • Are over age 60.
  • Have asthma.
  • Have cystic fibrosis.
  • Have inhaled a foreign body into the lung.
  • Smoke.
  • Live in crowded or unsanitary conditions, or use an unsanitary locker room.

Signs and symptoms

  • Fever and chills.
  • Nasal stuffiness.
  • Muscle aches and fatigue.
  • Cough, With or without sputum.
  • Rapid, labored (sometimes) breathing.
  • Chest pain.
  • Sore throat.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Enlarged lymph glands in the neck.
  • Bluish nails in advanced, untreated viral pneumonia (rare).


Findings at physical examination are similar to those of bacterial pneumonia . The diagnosis can be confirmed by isolation and identification of the pathogen through viral culture . Chest X-ray findings are usually nonspecific.


Most cases of viral pneumonia are mild and get better without treatment, but some cases are more serious and require hospitalization.

Antibiotics are not effective in treating viral pneumonia. Some of the more serious forms can be treated with antiviral medications. Other supportive care for viral pneumonia includes use of humidified air, increased fluids, and oxygen. Hospitalization may be necessary to prevent dehydration and to help with breathing if the infection is serious.

Home Treatment

  • Use a cool-mist humidifier to increase air moisture. This helps thin lung secretions so they can be coughed out more easily. Keep the humidifier clean.
  • Use a heating pad on the chest to relieve chest pain.
  • Avoid anyone with a viral illness.
  • Avoid overexertion, and condition your entire body, including the cardiovascular-pulmonary system, before engaging in strenuous sports.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.