In most cases of
pneumonia in young, otherwise healthy people with
immune systems, treatment can be done at home.
Antibiotics, rest, fluids, and home care are all that you need in order to
recover. But people who are having trouble breathing or have other lung
problems may need more treatment. Sometimes you may need
oxygen or medicines you breathe using an
nebulizer to help shortness of breath and wheezing
If home treatment does not help,
if symptoms get worse, or if signs of
complications of pneumonia develop, you may have to go
to the hospital. Hospital treatment for pneumonia may include:
- Antibiotics given directly into the
bloodstream. A small needle is inserted into a vein (intravenous, or IV) to deliver the medicine.
- Fluids given through a vein
(IV). They are given if you cannot drink liquids because of shortness of breath
- Respiratory therapy, to remove mucus from the lungs.
This therapy may include deep breathing exercises,
spirometry, and chest physiotherapy, which involves
striking the chest with a cupped hand or applying a vibrating device to the
chest to loosen mucus. Chest physiotherapy is not needed in most cases. But
it may be helpful for people who have other lung conditions, such as
- Breathing Exercises: How to Use a Manual Incentive Spirometer
- Oxygen therapy. You
may need oxygen therapy if your doctor thinks that the cells of your body are
not getting enough oxygen. Oxygen can be given through a nasal tube or face
mask. For children, oxygen is often given using a tent that fits over the
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
March 17, 2011
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