How Is Pneumonia Treated?

Treatment depends on the cause and severity of the pneumonia. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial pneumonia but are ineffective against viral pneumonia.

Treating Infective Pneumonia

Although the treatment for infective pneumonia depends on the cause of the condition, some simple steps can help speed recovery from pneumonia:

  • Medications should be taken exactly as prescribed by a physician. If it is not helping, call the doctor. Do not quit taking it unless told to do so by a doctor.
  • Take over-the-counter medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help control pain and fever.
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer to increase air moisture and to make it easier to breathe. DO NOT use hot steam.
  • Rest in bed until body core temperature returns to normal (98.6 degrees F or 37 degrees C) and chest pains and breathing problems are gone. Drink six to eight glasses of liquids daily to help keep mucous thin and easy to cough up.

Treatments For Aspiration Pneumonia

Treatments for aspiration pneumonia focus on breathing support. A breathing tube called an endotracheal tube is usually inserted into the trachea and oxygen is pumped into the lungs.

Suction may be used to clear the airways and to get any remaining chemical or vomit out of the way. Antibiotics are given only if a secondary lung infection develops.

Recovery From Pneumonia

How well a person recovers from pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia and the person’s general health. Most people with pneumonia recover completely. However, in infants under one year of age, the elderly, and those who are already seriously ill, pneumonia can sometimes be fatal.

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