Viral pneumonia is a viral infection that causes inflammation in the lungs. Viral pneumonia is generally not serious and should go away on its own within a few weeks.

The symptoms of viral pneumonia are often similar to those of bacterial pneumonia, but, depending on the virus responsible, there may be a few additional symptoms.

Most of the time, viral pneumonia occurs as a complication of viral infections that cause the flu or common cold. In rare cases, viral pneumonia may be life-threatening.

Read on to learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of viral pneumonia.

Woman in bed due to viral pneumonia
Symptoms of viral pneumonia may include fever, shaking, chills, and fatigue.

The symptoms of viral pneumonia may range in severity and can include the following:

  • fever
  • a cough that is likely to be dry initially but may produce yellow or green mucus after 1 to 2 days
  • shortness of breath
  • shaking
  • chills
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • malaise
  • weakness
  • loss of appetite
  • blue tint to lips

Some people with viral pneumonia may also have a sore throat or a headache, depending on the underlying cause of the viral infection.

Viral pneumonia also presents differently in each age group. Young children with viral pneumonia tend to have mild symptoms that gradually worsen. A child with viral pneumonia may develop noticeable wheezing, and their skin and lips often take on a blue tint from lack of oxygen. They are also likely to lose their appetite.

On the other hand, adults over the age of 65 may experience abnormally low body temperatures, confusion, and dizziness.

Viruses are responsible for viral pneumonia.

These viruses can include the following:

Viruses spread easily when affected people sneeze or cough. Coming into with a contaminated surface can also transmit the virus.