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Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

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Pneumonia - Other Treatment

In most cases of pneumonia in young, otherwise healthy people with strong 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 inhaler or nebulizer to help shortness of breath and wheezing symptoms.

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 or weakness.
  • Respiratory therapy, to remove mucus from the lungs. This therapy may include deep breathing exercises, postural drainage, incentive 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 bronchiectasis.
    actionset.gif 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 crib.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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