top of page
  • nishitaagarwal

Care after Pneumonia

How to care for a patient facing pneumonia?

Treatment for pneumonia depends on multiple factors like the kind of pneumonia you have, what your symptoms are, your age, and whether you have other health conditions. The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and prevent complications. It is important to follow your treatment plan carefully until you are fully recovered.

Take the medications as prescribed by your doctor. If your pneumonia was caused by bacteria, you will be given an antibiotic for it. It is important to take your antibiotics as prescribed until it is gone, even though you will probably start to feel better in a couple of days. Stopping your medicine half way, you put yourself at risk of having the infection to come back, and be more resistant.

Typical antibiotics do not work against viruses. If you are suffering from viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to treat it. In other cases, symptom management and good rest are all that is needed.

Symptoms of pneumonia

The symptoms of pneumonia normally develop suddenly over 24 to 48 hours, or they may come on more slowly over several days.

Common symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • a cough – which may be dry, or produce thick yellow, green, brown or blood-stained mucus

  • your breathing may be rapid and shallow, and you may feel breathless, even when resting

  • rapid heartbeat

  • high temperature

  • feeling generally unwell

  • sweating and shivering

  • loss of appetite

  • chest pain – which gets worse when breathing or coughing

Less common symptoms include:

  • coughing up blood

  • headaches / fatigue

  • feeling sick / being sick

  • wheezing

  • joint and muscle pain

  • feeling confused and disorientated, particularly in elderly people

What causes pneumonia

Pneumonia is usually the result of a bacterial infection. There are other kinds of pneumonia as well, that include:

  • viral pneumonia – caused by a virus

  • aspiration pneumonia – caused by breathing in vomit, a foreign object,

  • fungal pneumonia

  • hospital-acquired pneumonia – pneumonia that develops in a hospital while being treated for another condition or having an operation

Diagnosing pneumonia

A doctor may be able to diagnose pneumonia by asking about your symptoms and examining your chest. Further tests may be required depending on patient to patient. Pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because it shares many common symptoms with other conditions like the common cold, bronchitis and asthma.

A doctor may also take your temperature and listen to your chest and back with a stethoscope to check for any crackling or rattling sounds.

Lungs that are filled with fluid produce a different sound from normal healthy lungs. If you have mild pneumonia, you probably will not need to have a chest X-ray or any other tests.

You may need a chest X-ray or other tests, such as a sputum (mucus) test or blood tests, if your symptoms continue to not improve after 48 hours of starting treatment.

Treatment of pneumonia

Most people can manage their symptoms such as fever and cough at home by following these steps:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and bring up phlegm.

  • Do not take cough medicines without first talking to your doctor. Coughing is a way your body works to get rid of an infection.

  • Drink warm beverages, take steamy baths and use a humidifier to help open your airways and ease your breathing.

  • Stay away from smoke to let your lungs heal. This includes smoking, secondhand smoke and wood smoke.

  • Get lots of rest. You may need to stay in bed for a while.

If your pneumonia is severe and you need to be treated in the hospital, you may be given intravenous fluids and antibiotics and oxygen therapy.

It may take time to recover from pneumonia. Let's have a look at a general guide given by "National Health Services, UK"

As a general guide, after:

  • 1 week – high temperature should have gone

  • 4 weeks – chest pain and mucus production should have substantially reduced

  • 6 weeks – cough and breathlessness should have substantially reduced

  • 3 months – most symptoms should have resolved, but you may still feel very tired (fatigue)

  • 6 months – most people will feel back to normal

When in recovery phase - try limiting your contact with family and friends, to help keep your germs from spreading to other people. Cover your mouth and nose each time you cough, dispose of tissues in a closed waste container and wash your hands often.

Possible Pneumonia Complications

Possible complications include:

  • Respiratory failure, which requires a breathing machine or ventilator.

  • Sepsis, a condition in which there is uncontrolled inflammation in the body

  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a severe form of respiratory failure.

  • Lung abscesses, which are infrequent, but serious complications of pneumonia.

Follow-up after Pneumonia

The doctor will arrange a follow -up depending on your condition. In few cases, they may arrange follow-up tests, like a chest X-ray, if:

  • your symptoms have not improved

  • your symptoms have come back

  • you smoke

  • you're over the age of 50

53 views0 comments


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page