How to Treat Pneumonia

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Treat Pneumonia
Treat Pneumonia

How to Treat Pneumonia. Pneumonia is a broad term used to describe any extensive inflammation of the lung. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or inhalation of poisons or other foreign particles. In the United States, about 2 million people develop pneumonia each year.

Things You'll Need

  • Analgesics
  • Expectorants
  • Oral Antibiotics

See your doctor. Go to your local emergency room if your doctor is unavailable, if you have a high fever accompanied by a cough that brings up colored sputum, or if you have difficulty breathing.

Receive anti-pneumonia medication, either oral or intravenous.

Drink plenty of fluids. This aids the immune system and helps loosen lung congestion.

Take analgesics for pain. Your chest muscles may become sore from coughing and the added effort of breathing, and your body will feel achy from fighting infection. Ask your doctor what analgesic is right for you. For severe pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe codeine, but take it as sparingly as possible. Codeine suppresses coughing, and coughing is beneficial to the lungs.

Rest. If you have pneumonia, get at least eight hours of sleep each night, and take a midday catnap.

Cough and breathe deeply. Expand your lungs and help them heal by taking deep breaths through your mouth, holding the air in for 5 to 10 seconds and exhaling forcefully.

Take an expectorant, like guaifenesin, to bring up sputum. However, studies offer no conclusive proof that expectorants speed up recovery from pneumonia.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bacterial pneumonia drugs are usually antibiotics such as penicillin, cephalosporins and clarithromycin. Viral pneumonia associated with AIDS is treated with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole.
  • Pneumonia is a serious illness. Each year, 40,000 to 70,000 Americans die from the disease. See your doctor for prolonged cough, soreness when breathing, rust-colored, brown, green or yellow sputum, or prolonged fever.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your health, contact a physician or other health care professional. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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