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Lung diseases

Duration of pneumonia

07/02/2007

Question:

I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia on April 20, 2007. Since then, I have had 3 x-rays and I am now on my third antibiotic. I still cannot walk 10 ft. or upstairs without experiencing a shortness of breath. I am very concerned about the fact that my lungs are not yet clear. Is this duration of pneumonia and symptoms "normal"?

Answer:

Pneumonias can take 6 weeks or longer to go away on a chest Xray. Usually, someone's symptoms are better before their Xray is better. People can feel fatigue and get easily winded for a while (up to months) after a bad pneumonia. Your symptoms sound out of proportion to what is usual and may be worth evaluation by a lung doctor.

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Response by:

James M O'Brien, Jr, MD James M O'Brien, Jr, MD
Former Associate Professor
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University