How To Feel Better
Below are some ways you can feel better while your body fights off acute bronchitis:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer.
- Use saline nasal spray or drops to relieve a stuffy nose.
- For young children, use a rubber suction bulb to clear mucus.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about over-the-counter medicines that can help you feel better. Always use over-the-counter medicines as directed. Remember, over-the-counter medicines may provide temporary relief of symptoms, but they will not cure your illness.
Spreading Pneumonia To Others
If your pneumonia is caused by a virus or bacteria, you may spread the infection to other people while you are contagious. How long you are contagious depends on what is causing the pneumonia and whether you get treatment. You may be contagious for several days to a week.
If you get antibiotics, you usually cannot spread the infection to others after a day of treatment.
Lab Tests For Pneumonia
The need for more tests often depends on how severe your symptoms are, your age, and your overall health. In general, the sicker you are, the more tests you may need. This is especially true for older adults and infants. One example of a test you may have is the arterial blood gas test.
Rapid urine test
This test can identify some bacteria that cause pneumonia. This can help guide treatment for pneumonia.
In people who have impaired immune systems, pneumonia may be caused by other organisms, including some forms of fungi, such as Pneumocystis jiroveci . This fungus often causes pneumonia in people who have AIDS. Some doctors may suggest an HIV test if they think that Pneumocystis jiroveci is causing the pneumonia.
Other lung tests
If you have severe pneumonia, you may need other tests, including tests to check for complications and to find out how well your immune system is working.
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How Soon After Treatment For Pneumonia Will I Begin To Feel Better
How soon you will feel better depends on several factors, including:
- The cause of your pneumonia
- The severity of your pneumonia
- If you have other at-risk conditions
If you are generally healthy, most symptoms of bacterial pneumonia usually begin to improve within 24 to 48 hours after starting treatment. Symptoms of viral pneumonia usually begin to improve within a few days after starting treatment. A cough can last for several weeks. Most people report being tired for about a month after contracting pneumonia.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Covid Pneumonia
Theres no standard timeline for how long COVID pneumonia lasts. How you feel with COVID pneumonia may change day by day. Some days you may think youre getting better, but you may feel worse again before its over. For moderate illness, you may feel better in three to six weeks. For more severe illness, it can take months to recover. How soon you will feel better depends on:
- The severity of your pneumonia.
- If you have other health conditions or complications.
Follow-up with your healthcare provider if you have ongoing health concerns after being treated for COVID pneumonia.
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When Would I Need To Be Hospitalized For Pneumonia
If your case of pneumonia is more severe, you may need tostay in the hospital for treatment. Hospital treatments may include:
- Fluids, antibiotics and other medicines given through an IV
- Breathing treatments and exercises to help loosen mucus
People most likely to be hospitalized are those who are most frail and/or at increased risk, including:
- Babies and young children
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with health conditions that affect the heart and lungs
It may take six to eight weeks to return to a normal level of functioning and well-being if youve been hospitalized with pneumonia.
How Can I Manage Bacterial Pneumonia
- Rest as needed. Rest often while you recover. Slowly start to do more each day.
- Keep your head elevated. You may be able to breathe better if you keep your head and upper body elevated.
- Do not smoke. Smoking increases your risk for pneumonia. Smoking also makes it harder for you to get better after you have had pneumonia. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products. Avoid secondhand smoke.
- Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids help thin your mucus, which may make it easier for you to cough it up.
- Use a cool mist humidifier to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for you to breathe and help decrease your cough.
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Is There A Vaccine For Pneumonia
There isnt a vaccine for all types of pneumonia, but 2 vaccines are available. These help prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. The first is recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age. The second is recommended for anyone age 2 or older who is at increased risk for pneumonia. Getting the pneumonia vaccine is especially important if you:
- Are 65 years of age or older.
- Have certain chronic conditions, such as asthma, lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell disease, or cirrhosis.
- Have a weakened immune system because of HIV/AIDS, kidney failure, a damaged or removed spleen, a recent organ transplant, or receiving chemotherapy.
- Have cochlear implants .
The pneumococcal vaccines cant prevent all cases of pneumonia. But they can make it less likely that people who are at risk will experience the severe, and possibly life-threatening, complications of pneumonia.
When To See A Doctor
If you have been sick with what seems like a cold or the flu without improvement for 5-7 days, check in with your doctor.
This could be a sign that you have pneumonia or have developed a secondary infection.
If you have a compromised immune system, are over age 65, or have other medical problems, call your doctor sooner.
Children who have symptoms of pneumonia should be seen by their pediatrician right away, since they may not display common signs of pneumonia, even if they are very ill.
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How Is Pneumonia Spread From Person To Person
Pneumonia is spread when droplets of fluid containing the pneumonia bacteria or virus are launched in the air when someone coughs or sneezes and then inhaled by others. You can also get pneumonia from touching an object previously touched by the person with pneumonia or touching a tissue used by the infected person and then touching your mouth or nose.
How Is Bacterial Pneumonia Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms and examine you. You may need any of the following tests:
- Pulse oximetry measures the amount of oxygen in your blood.
- Blood tests are used to check for infection.
- A chest x-ray may show signs of infection in your lungs.
- A mucus sample is collected and tested for the germ that is causing your illness. It can help your healthcare provider choose the best medicine to treat the infection.
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What Are The Complications Of Pneumonia
Anyone can experience complications from pneumonia. However, people in high-risk groups are more likely to develop complications, including:
- Breathing difficulties: Pneumonia can make breathing difficult. Pneumonia plus an existing lung disorder can make breathing even more difficult. Breathing difficulties may require a hospital stay to receive oxygen therapy or breathing and healing assistance with the use of a breathing machine .
- Fluid buildup in the lungs : Pneumonia can cause a buildup in the fluid between the membranes that line the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity. It is a serious condition that makes breathing difficult. Pleural effusion can be treated by draining excess fluid with a catheter, chest tube or by surgery.
- Bacteria in the bloodstream : The bacteria that cause pneumonia can leave your lungs and enter your bloodstream, spreading the infection to other organs. This condition is treated with antibiotics.
- Lung abscess. A lung abscess is a pus-filled cavity in the lung that is caused by a bacterial infection. It can be treated by draining the pus with a long needle or removing it by surgery.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia include:
Bluish color to lips and fingernails
Confused mental state or delirium, especially in older people
Cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus
Mycoplasma pneumonia has somewhat different symptoms, which include a severe cough that may produce mucus.
What Can I Do At Home To Feel Better
In addition to taking any antibiotics and/or medicine your doctor prescribes, you should also:
- Get lots of rest. Rest will help your body fight the infection.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids will keep you hydrated. They can help loosen the mucus in your lungs. Try water, warm tea, and clear soups.
- Stop smoking if you smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoke can make your symptoms worse. Smoking also increases your risk of developing pneumonia and other lung problems in the future. You should also avoid lit fireplaces or other areas where the air may not be clean.
- Stay home from school or work until your symptoms go away. This usually means waiting until your fever breaks and you arent coughing up mucus. Ask your doctor when its okay for you to return to school or work.
- Use a cool-mist humidifier or take a warm bath. This will help clear your lungs and make it easier for you to breathe.
What Is Covid Pneumonia
COVID pneumonia is an infection in your lungs caused by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. You can get pneumonia as a complication of being sick with COVID-19. As your immune system attacks the infection in your lungs, they get inflamed and fill with fluid, making it hard to breathe.
What is bilateral interstitial pneumonia seen in coronavirus disease ?
The type of pneumonia associated with COVID-19 is almost always in both lungs at the same time . Interstitial tissue is what surrounds your lungs air sacs, blood vessels and airways. Interstitial lung disease causes scarring or other lung damage. Bilateral interstitial pneumonia in COVID-19 is lung damage on both sides as a result of COVID-19-related pneumonia. This usually happens after the initial phase, often in people who have long COVID .
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What Can I Do To Feel Better If I Have Pneumonia
- Finish all medications and therapies prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking antibiotics when you start feeling better. Continue taking them until no pills remain. If you dont take all your antibiotics, your pneumonia may come back.
- If over-the-counter medicines to reduce fever have been recommended , take as directed on the label. Never give aspirin to children.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen phlegm.
- Quit smoking if you smoke. Dont be around others who smoke or vape. Surround yourself with as much clean, chemical-free air as possible.
- Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or bath to make it easier for you to breathe.
- Get lots of rest. Dont rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.
If at any time you start to feel worse, call your doctor right away.
Fast Facts On Pneumonia
- Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages.
- It is the leading cause of death due to infection in children younger than 5 years of age worldwide.
- Pneumonia and influenza together are ranked as the eighth leading cause of death in the United States.
- Those at high risk of pneumonia include older adults, the very young, and people with underlying health problems.
- can result from a condition such as valley fever, caused by the Coccidioides fungus.
- Aspiration pneumonia: This type occurs as a result of inhaling food, liquids, or stomach contents into the lungs. Aspiration pneumonia is not contagious.
- Hospital-acquired pneumonia: This can occur in people receiving hospital treatment for other conditions that involve use of a respirator or breathing machine.
Regardless of the cause of pneumonia, the signs and symptoms will be similar.
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In Older Adults And Children
Older adults may have different, fewer, or milder symptoms, such as having no fever or having a cough with no mucus . The major sign of pneumonia in older adults may be a change in how clearly they think or when a lung disease they already have gets worse.
In children, symptoms may depend on age:
- In infants younger than 1 month of age, symptoms may include having little or no energy , feeding poorly, grunting, or having a fever.
- In children, symptoms of pneumonia are often the same as in adults. Your doctor will look for signs such as a cough and a faster breathing rate.
Some conditions with symptoms similar to pneumonia include bronchitis, COPD, and tuberculosis.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Aspiration Pneumonia
If you have worrisome symptoms like chest pain, fever and difficulty breathing, call your provider or seek emergency medical help. Pneumonia can get worse more quickly than you realize.
If you often feel like you are choking, or have difficulty swallowing, see your provider. You may need to see a specialist who can help you find out why you are choking or having problems swallowing. You may need to change what and how you eat and drink.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Pneumonia is an infection in your lungs. One of the ways you can get this infection is by inhaling saliva, food, stomach contents or even foreign objects into your lungs, which is called aspiration pneumonia. This type is more common among certain people, including people with nerve disorders or swallowing issues. Aspiration pneumonia is generally treated with antibiotics. Treatment is successful for most people. Make sure you contact your healthcare provider if you have chest pain, fever and difficulty breathing. As with most conditions, the best outcomes happen when aspiration pneumonia is found early.
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How Long Youll Take Them
A course of antibiotics for uncomplicated pneumonia treatment is usually for five to seven days. One course will usually be enough to cure your pneumonia. In some cases, you may need more than one course of antibiotics if your infection doesnt start improving or it seems like its not responding to the medications.
Stay in touch with your doctor to ensure your infection is clearing up. Youll likely start to feel better and have some symptom relief one to three days after you start your pneumonia treatment, but it may take a week or more for your symptoms to go away completely.
Taking your medication as prescribed, especially for antibiotics, is incredibly important. Even if youre feeling better, you need to take the entire course.
Do not stop taking antibiotics early, even if your symptoms improve, as the infection would not be fully treated and could become antibiotic-resistant. This will make treatment more complicated. If youre experiencing side effects, talk to your doctor. Only stop your medication if your doctor tells you its OK to do so.
How Can I Tell If I Have Pneumonia Versus The Common Cold Or The Flu
Do I have a cold or could it be the flu or even pneumonia? Its tough to tell the difference but critical to know when to seek medical care
Watch for these ongoing symptoms that occur in pneumonia:
- Serious congestion or chest pain.
- Difficulty breathing.
- A fever of 102 or higher.
- Coughing that produces pus.
Pneumonia symptoms last longer than cold and flu. If your symptoms arent severe, its okay to try such home remedies as getting more rest, drinking more fluids and taking some over-the-counter medicines and see what happens. But if you dont see improvement in your symptoms after three to five days, or if you are experiencing more serious symptoms such as dizziness or severe difficulty breathing, see your healthcare provider. Dont let it go. Pneumonia-like symptoms in very young children or in adults older than 65 are a cause for concern. Also, pneumonia can cause permanent lung damage if left untreated for too long. And always seek immediate care if you experience chest pain or have breathing difficulties.
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Key Points About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasma pneumonia.
A cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus is the most common symptom of pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, shortness of breath, low energy, and extreme tiredness.
Pneumonia can often be diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Tests used to look at the lungs, blood tests, and tests done on the sputum you cough up may also be used.
Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. It may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have a specific treatment and just get better on their own. Other treatment may include a healthy diet, more fluids, rest, oxygen therapy, and medicine for pain, cough, and fever control.
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can cause serious lung and infection problems. It can even be deadly.