Does Pneumonia Cause Fever? When to Go to Urgent Care

A sick young man lies in bed. He blows his nose with a tissue.


Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the tiny air sacs in the lungs called alveoli. Although microscopic, they’re vital to respiration. The alveoli pick up the incoming oxygen and release the outgoing waste (carbon dioxide) that’s exhaled. When the alveoli become inflamed, air can’t pass easily in and out of your lungs. A variety of organisms, like bacteria, viruses and fungi, can infect these tiny air sacs and lead to pneumonia.

Contrary to what you may think, pneumonia can affect anyone, at any age, including otherwise healthy adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.7 million people visit the emergency room each year with pneumonia as their primary diagnosis.

Does pneumonia cause fever?

You might be wondering, “Does pneumonia cause fever?” Pneumonia can range in severity from mild to life-threatening, with symptoms that mimic a cold or flu, but they tend to last longer. Most people with pneumonia have symptoms for 2-4 weeks. While it is possible to have pneumonia without fever at first, a person with a viral upper respiratory infection (e.g., cold) will get a fever and may develop a secondary bacterial infection, which may cause a fever to rise as high as a dangerous 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Other symptoms of pneumonia may include:

  • Chest pain when you breathe or cough
  • Cough (which may produce phlegm)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sweating and shaking chills
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Lower-than-average internal body temperature (in adults aged 65 and older and people with weak immune systems)
  • Confusion or changes in mental awareness (in adults aged 65 and older)

When to go to urgent care

If you’re exhibiting one or more of the symptoms above, visit your primary care physician as soon as possible. As with most infections and medical conditions, the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. Go to your local urgent care center immediately if you have symptoms of mild to moderate:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher (or 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in children when taken orally)

Anyone with severe symptoms of pneumonia should go to their nearest emergency room for immediate treatment, particularly the following groups of people:

  • Infants and small children
  • Seniors over age 65
  • Smokers
  • People with preexisting lung issues (e.g., COPD or asthma)
  • People with other chronic health issues, like heart disease

Visit State Urgent Care to get the treatment you need for colds, flu, persistent or severe fever, pneumonia, or other non-life-threatening medical conditions. We can provide the help you need quickly, so you can start feeling better fast. We welcome walk-in appointments 7 days a week.