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When to Seek Medical Care When to call the doctor
  • If you have a fever   and cough up yellow, green, or brown sputum, make an appointment with your doctor.
  • If you have, shortness of breath, chest pain  , or confusion, you should seek emergency care.
  • If you are healthy, you can safely make an appointment to see your doctor. A day or two of waiting should not make a big difference, unless you are experiencing significant shortness of breath or if any signs of confusion are present.
When to go to the hospital
  • If you have shortness of breath, you should always seek emergency care. Shortness of breath is not simply the feeling that you can't take a full breath. Shortness of breath means that you cannot take in enough air to meet your body's needs. It is a potentially serious symptom and always requires a visit to an emergency department, no matter how healthy you are.
  • If you have chest pain or confusion, you should seek emergency care.
  • You are at higher risk of developing pneumonia if you have the following:
    • a chronic health problem, such as diabetes  ,
    • a poor immune system because of HIV  , AIDS  , steroid use, or immune-suppressant medications (people with organ transplants take these medications),
    • diseased or damaged lungs, such as with asthma or emphysema, or
    • are very young or very old

If you suspect pneumonia based on the signs or symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible. There is no home treatment for pneumonia. Although cough suppressants, expectorants, or fever-lowering drugs may be helpful, they should not be started without discussing their use with your doctor


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