Four Stages of Pneumonia

Four Stages of Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the lungs due to bacteria. During a pneumonia infection, air sacs, otherwise known as alveoli, will become full of inflammatory cells. The lungs will become solid and full of pus and fluid, making it very difficult to breathe.

A pneumonia infection is no joke. In fact, UNICEF reports that pneumonia kills more children than any other illness. Even if you combined the deal toll of AIDS, measles, and malaria, you would still not have a number high enough to match that of the deaths pneumonia has caused. This dangerous infection should not be taken lightly. It is good to be acquainted with the four stages of pneumonia. The sooner you recognize the illness, the better for your recovery. 


This stage occurs within the first 24 hours of contracting pneumonia. During congestion, the body will experience vascular engorgement, intra-alveolar fluid, and multiple bacteria. The lungs will be very heavy and red. Capillaries in the alveolar walls become congested and the infection will spread to the hilum and pleura. During this stage, a person will experience coughing and deep breathing. 

Red Hepatization

This stage occurs two to three days after congestion. At this point, the lungs will be red, firm, and airless with a resemblance to the liver. Alveolar capillaries will be engorged with blood and vascular congestion will persist. During the red hepatization stage, the alveoli will contain many erythrocytes, neutrophils, desquamated epithelial cells, and fibrin. 

Grey Hepatization 

This stage will occur two to three days after red hepatization and is an avascular stage. The lungs will appear to be a grayish brown or yellow color because of the disintegration of red cells. Your lungs will also appear to be paler and drier than usual. There will be a persistence of fibrin exudate during this stage.  


The resolution, or complete recovery, occurs when the exudate experiences progressive enzymatic digestion. This will produce debris that is eventually reabsorbed, ingested by macrophages, coughed up, or reorganized by fibroblasts. 

Pneumonia Symptoms

Symptoms of pneumonia include coughing (with green, yellow, or bloody mucus), fever, chills, shortness of breath, nausea, low energy, stabbing chest pains, shallow breaths, and a loss of appetite. With bacterial pneumonia, a person may have a high fever. They may also have blue lips of nail beds, which is due to a low amount of oxygen in the blood. 

Viral pneumonia can develop over a few days and has symptoms similar to those of influenza. These include fever, headaches, muscle pains, weakness, and a dry cough. If these symptoms get worse within a few days and include fever and blue lips, a person should seek out medical attention. 

Depending on the type of pneumonia, some may not even display symptoms. In older adults and infants, it is common to see less symptoms. An infant may vomit, cough, and display restlessness while an older adult may have a low temperature and sudden mental confusion. 

Is Pneumonia Contagious? 

While pneumonia does not initially infect everyone, some of the germs associated with pneumonia can spread between individuals. Many viruses that easily spread between people can cause pneumonia. How does pneumonia spread? Pneumonia can be spread by coughs or sneezes that are not appropriately covered, sharing drinks or eating utensils, from touching objects used by a carrier (like tissues), and especially from not regularly washing your hands. 

Where to Find Help for Pneumonia 

If you believe that you have contracted pneumonia, it is important to seek out help as soon as possible. You might find that a regular doctor’s office will ask you to wait a few days to be seen, but with BASS Urgent Care, you can be seen immediately. We are fully equipped to diagnose and treat pneumonia, as well as other infections. With our help, we can get you started on proper medication and feeling better.