What Happens if Pneumonia is Left Untreated?

If left untreated, pneumonia can rapidly worsen and become life-threatening, sometimes resulting in death. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of pneumonia, it’s important to see a doctor, particularly if you have certain risk factors. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of pneumonia is key and leads to better outcomes.

It’s important to keep in mind that pneumonia symptoms may be milder or subtler in many at-risk populations, such as the very young and the elderly. This is because many at-risk groups have a weakened immune system or a chronic or acute illness. As such, these people may not receive the care that they need until the infection has become severe. Moreover, pneumonia can worsen preexisting chronic conditions, particularly those affecting the heart and lungs. This can lead to a rapid worsening of the patient’s condition.

Certain people are at high risk of developing flu complications, which can be life-threatening. These include children, adults 65 years and older, and adults with chronic health conditions such as

  • asthma,
  • heart disease and stroke,
  • diabetes, and
  • chronic kidney disease.

Flu complications include sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) or muscle tissues (myositis, rhabdomyolysis), sepsis (a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues), and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure).

It’s absolutely crucial to be aware of the development of any symptoms and to seek prompt medical attention. See a doctor immediately to be evaluated for possible pneumonia if you or a loved one has the following symptoms:

  • abnormal body temperature, such as fever and chills or a lower-than-normal body temperature in older adults or people with weak immune systems
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • cough, possibly with mucus or phlegm
  • chest pain when you cough or breathe
  • tiredness or fatigue
  • confusion, particularly in older adults
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

Consult your doctor for more information on pneumonia.

Shop at Watsons for your vitamins, supplements, prescription medications, and other essential healthcare needs. Flu and Pneumonia vaccines are also available. Check Watsons vaccination schedules now!


https://www.healthline.com/health/pneumonia/can-you-die-from-pneumonia#risk. Accessed 24 August 2022
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/pneumonia. Accessed 24 August 2022
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm. Accessed 24 August 2022
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/index.htm. Accessed 24 August 2022
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sepsis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351214. Accessed 24 August 2022

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