Viral pneumonia is a disease in which the lower respiratory tract is affected. The causative agent of the pathology is viruses that provoke the development of adenovirus infection, influenza, respiratory ailments. Pathologies of this type have a similar clinical picture and an acute course. Pneumonia caused by a viral infection most often affects children and patients over 65 years of age. Epidemiological outbreaks of this disease occur in autumn and winter. This is due to the fact that in the cold season , the number of cases of ARVI increases. Viral pneumonia is primary and secondary. The latter is diagnosed if the ailment has become a complication caused by another cold disease. According to the modern classification, primary pneumonia is divided into benign and malignant.   


Clinical manifestations

Symptoms depend on the factors causing the respiratory tract damage. Common signs of pneumonia include:   

  • high body temperature ;  
  • cough;
  • secretion of sputum containing blood; 
  • painful sensations when inhaling;
  • dyspnea;
  • cyanosis of the skin.

The appearance of concomitant diseases is possible, among them lymphadenopathy, pharyngitis, rhinitis, conjunctivitis. The child’s condition often worsens due to the appearance of nausea, vomiting, convulsive syndrome, meningeal symptoms. In viral pneumonia triggered by influenza, both lungs are affected.

Newborns and infants are prone to parainfluenza pneumonia. It is characterized by moderate symptoms. With a severe form of a viral illness, the baby’s temperature rises, convulsions and dyspeptic disorder appear. Development of hemorrhagic syndrome is possible. The disease progresses very quickly, in the absence of timely therapy, death occurs in the first 5-7 days. This is due to the fact that respiratory syncytial pneumonia gives serious complications. Obstructive bronchiolitis is especially dangerous.

With an infectious lesion of the respiratory tract, pain syndrome develops. Clinical symptoms appear 2-3 days after the virus enters the body. The signs listed above are often complemented by discomfort in the throat, dry cough, chills, severe headache, catarrhal symptoms. The patient’s well-being with pneumonia improves after a few days: the cough becomes productive, the bronchi begin to clear the accumulated phlegm. Viral pneumonia can lead to respiratory arrest. Therefore, with a sharp deterioration in health, there is an urgent need for resuscitation. Young patients are hospitalized when the first symptoms of viral pneumonia appear. When making a diagnosis, the type of viral infection and the duration of incubation are taken into account .    


Main reasons

There are quite a few viruses that can cause pneumonia. Among them:

  • adenoviruses;
  • influenza and parainfluenza viruses;
  • enteroviruses;
  • metapneumovirus;
  • hantavirus.

Atypical pneumonia causes SARS-associated coronavirus. The causative agents of chickenpox and measles are considered to be the reasons provoking the appearance of a viral illness in children. 

The risk of mixed (viral-bacterial) pneumonia is increased in babies less than a year old, the elderly, and immunocompromised patients. Aggravating factors include autoimmune pathologies, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory ailments and diabetes mellitus. Infection occurs by airborne and household methods. The duration of the incubation period varies depending on the root cause of the pathology. 


An effective therapeutic regimen is selected based on the information obtained during the diagnostic examination. It is carried out over three stages. At the first stage, the doctor collects anamnesis, performs percussion and auscultation. The next stage in the diagnosis of a viral disease is laboratory research.  

The patient is prescribed a referral for standard procedures (OAC, OAM, biochemical blood test) and specific studies. The viral etiology is confirmed by examination of lavage water, mucus and tracheal aspirate. For this, the method of fluorescent antibodies is used.

At the third stage, the patient is prescribed X-ray diagnostics. Thus, changes in the interstitial pattern and small focal shadows are revealed. They are localized in the lower parts of the respiratory system. With a comprehensive assessment of the diagnostic results, the doctor must take into account the epidemiological situation. You may also need to consult narrowly specialized specialists. 


Compulsory hospitalization is necessary for patients at risk. In any case, the patient is prescribed bed rest, drug therapy and a special diet. Medicines are selected based on the type of pathogen.    

The latter medication is used to treat respiratory syncytial pneumonia. Antibiotics are allowed to be used only for ailments of mixed etiology. They are combined with antipyretic and expectorant drugs.  

The treatment regimen includes drainage massage and inhalation. Alternative methods are allowed to be used only after consultation with a doctor. To get rid of toxicosis, intravenous infusion is performed. Respiratory failure is eliminated through oxygen therapy. Bronchodilators are needed if there are spasms in the affected bronchi. With the help of probiotics, the intestinal microflora is normalized. For respiratory distress syndrome, glucocorticoids are prescribed.    

Antiviral treatment

Viral pneumonia is treated with antiviral medications. With a mild form of pathology, therapy can be carried out at home. Moderate and severe pneumonia is treated only in a hospital. Antiviral treatment gives the maximum effect in the first 3-4 days after infection, therefore, if negative symptoms appear, you should contact a medical institution.       


With effective therapy, the prognosis is favorable, recovery occurs in two weeks. Prolonged pneumonia is diagnosed if pathological changes in the lungs persist for a month. Influenza vaccination is recognized as the most effective preventive measure. Vitamin therapy and hardening are considered non-specific methods. You can reduce the risk of infection by following the rules of personal hygiene and a healthy lifestyle.  

In dangerous periods, it is recommended to take immunostimulating agents. Contact with infected people should be avoided and damp cleaning should be done regularly in the living area. We must not forget about airing. Parents should install a humidification device in their baby’s room. When the heating is turned on, it becomes too dry. Because of this, the mucous membranes are too sensitive to the effects of the external environment. The nose and mouth should be rinsed with a mild saline solution. The diet is of great importance. Fatty and spicy dishes, marinades, alcoholic beverages, coffee, strong tea should be excluded from it.


If the clinical manifestations of pneumonia are ignored , the patient may experience serious complications:   

  • broncho-obstructive syndrome;
  • the transition of viral pneumonia to a mixed form;
  • distress syndrome;
  • pleurisy.

In adult patients, viral pneumonia is rare. There are several reasons why an ailment of mixed etiology develops. Among them, the weakening of the defense mechanism, the negative impact of the external environment, the lack of timely treatment. Viruses enter the respiratory tract along with the contaminated air. Then they are introduced into functional cells. This results in the accumulation of fluid in the alveoli. Disruptions in the gas exchange process provoke oxygen starvation. The earlier the treatment of pneumonia begins , the lower the risk of developing negative consequences. The patient must follow all the recommendations of the doctor.