What Are The 4 Stages Of Pneumonia

Your lungs consist of five lobes, three in the right lung and two in the left lung. When the bacteria invade the host body, it might affect the lobes of your lung. This type of pneumonia, wherein the lobes get affected, is termed lobar pneumonia. It can cause acute exudative inflammation in the lobes. The space inside the alveoli sacs becomes inflamed. While lobar pneumonia affects a single lobe of one lung, bronchial pneumonia is a type that affects the bronchi and bronchioles.       

Bronchial pneumonia is also known as bronchopneumonia. It can spread outside the bronchi and bronchioles and infect the lobes. The infection causes the constriction of the tubes that bring oxygen into your lungs. According to the Healthline website, there are four stages of pneumonia, which include:   


This is the first stage of the infection, which results when the colonization of the infectious bacteria has occurred in one or more than one lobe of the lung. The duration of the congestion stage is 24 hours. After this stage, the infection progresses to the next stage. During this initial stage, the infectious bacteria can grow and multiply rapidly, as the immune system response takes some time to release the white blood cells to fight off the infection in the lungs.

The lungs become inflamed, and the buildup of fluid or pus happens in the alveoli sacs. This leads to breathing difficulties and a feeling of heaviness around the chest. Breathing problems contribute to a lack of oxygen in the body. Apart from breathing difficulties, the person may experience other symptoms like fever, fatigue, congestion, cough, and chest pain.

Red hepatization

This is the second stage of pneumonia infection, during which, your immune system works in full swing to prevent the bacteria cells from growing and multiplying. The white blood cells and red blood cells accumulate in your lungs and start destroying the infectious pathogens to prevent the illness from worsening.

The immune system response leads to extreme inflammation and further causes fluid accumulation in the lungs. The fluid enters the air sacs and blocks the movement of oxygen into the bloodstream, which gives rise to breathing problems. The accumulation of red blood cells in the infected region of the lungs can make the lungs appear red or pink.

The second stage usually lasts for a few days, and it can give rise to symptoms such as fatigue or extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, and the presence of some sputum or purulent material while coughing.     

Gray hepatization

The third stage happens around two to three after the second stage. The duration of this stage can be up to eight days. The red blood cells that are accumulated in the lungs will get destroyed and as a result, their secreted material builds up in the lungs. A protein known as Hemosiderin, which is responsible for storing iron in your tissues gets accumulated in the lungs. The accumulation of iron in the lungs can make the lungs appear grayish and darker in shade when looked under the microscope.    

During this stage, the person experiences severe symptoms. They may develop severe breathing issues, shortness of breath, shallow breathing, confusion, dizziness, and their nails and lips might turn blue. For this stage, it is necessary to seek immediate medical care. Which will prevent the fatal consequences of pneumonia.


This is the fourth and final stage of pneumonia. The duration of this stage is around eight to ten days. This is the recovery phase of the infection, wherein the immune system dominates the infectious bacteria and gains complete control over the illness. The dissolving of the fibrous tissues happens and the air sacs that were accumulated with the purulent material get cleaned and free to carry on their normal function.   

The alveolar sacs begin to move the oxygen into the bloodstream and the breathing difficulties and related problems subside. Also, the dead cell residual and tissue debris will get cleared by the immune cells’ action. In this way, the person recovers from the illness completely.     

Some tips to speed up the recovery  

No smoking

For chronic smokers, avoiding smoking can be very challenging. But it is necessary to give up smoking for a significant time during and after the recovery. Moreover, The smoke consists of harmful toxins that enter your respiratory tracts and reach the lungs, where the toxins get released into the bloodstream, as the alveolar sacs move the toxic gas into the blood. Exposure to such hazardous chemicals of the smoke can deteriorate lung infection and make the condition life-threatening.   

Give up alcohol

Alcohol consumption can contribute to the weakening of the immune system. The strength of your immune system will decide the degree of damage caused by the pathogens. Avoiding alcohol during and after some time until the illness fully recovers will keep your immunity in good order, which is necessary for fighting off infections.

Consume plenty of fluids

You may feel fatigued and lack energy, as your immune system remains in fighting mode. Also, you tend to lose more fluids during pneumonia. Which happens because of symptoms like sweating and losing fluids. Moreover, This can leave you dehydrated. Therefore, drink more fluids to maintain adequate hydration levels in the body.

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