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What causes flu to develop into pneumonia?

It's not unusual for the flu to lead to pneumonia. These cases of pneumonia result when bacteria, viruses and other organisms invade the lungs and cause them to become inflamed. The body's defense mechanisms ordinarily prevent these bacteria from reaching the lungs, but when the defenses are weakened by the flu, severe pneumonia may develop. Bacterial pneumonia symptoms will appear after you start feeling like you're recovering from the flu. A brief period of improvement is followed by the sudden onset of:
  • High fever
  • Shaking chills
  • Chest pain with each breath
  • A continuous hacking cough that produces thick, yellow-greenish-colored phlegm, or sputum; or sputum with blood in it
  • Extreme weakness and fatigue
You should always check with your healthcare professional right away if you have these symptoms.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.