Viral Pneumonia Treatment
Home Remedies for Viral Pneumonia
- If you've been diagnosed with viral pneumonia, you need to rest and drink plenty of fluids.
- If you overexert yourself when you are sick, even with a virus, you can prevent your immune system from fighting off the illness, and possibly get even sicker.
- You can use over-the-counter drugs to reduce fever, body aches, and cough. Although some medications can help you feel better, you still need rest. These drugs won't cure you, and your body still needs rest to have the energy to fight the infection and to heal itself.
Medical Treatment for Viral Pneumonia
If you are diagnosed with a viral pneumonia, an antibiotic will not help you get better faster. Antibiotics work only on illnesses caused by bacteria. Your best treatment is to rest and keep yourself hydrated.
- If your doctor suspects your pneumonia is caused by an influenza virus, you may get a prescription for an anti-flu drug. It must be started within 36 hours of the beginning of symptoms to help. Four drugs are available: amantadine (Symadine), rimantadine (Flumadine), and oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are pills or capsules. Zanamivir (Relenza) is a powder that you inhale directly into your lungs.
- Varicella pneumonia is almost always serious enough to need treatment with acyclovir (Zovirax). You can take this drug by mouth or, if you are severely ill and in the hospital, by IV.
- Respiratory syncytial virus usually needs just treatment of the symptoms. If you are sick enough to be in the hospital, you might be treated with ribavirin (Rebetol).
- Treatment of adenovirus and parainfluenza virus pneumonia aims to relieve symptoms.
- Because your lungs are weakened, your doctor may use an antibiotic to prevent you from developing a bacterial pneumonia.
- If you are treated at home, your doctor will probably ask you to return in one to four weeks to be checked.
- You may need a repeat chest X-ray when your symptoms have improved. Because some types of pneumonia can look like cancer, a second X-ray will prove that it is not.
Prevention of Viral Pneumonia
Germs are spread both by aerosolized droplets that you breathe in (such as from a sneeze), and through body fluids left on surfaces like counter tops and door handles. If you avoid people who are coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands frequently, you can reduce your chances of catching a virus.
Fluids and rest during bouts of the common cold can help prevent progression to pneumonia.
Travel to endemic areas can increase your chances of developing influenza or SARS. If you develop a severe respiratory illness after travel to these areas or are taking care of someone who has, contact your doctor immediately, and avoid spreading this illness to others by washing hands frequently and avoiding coughing or sneezing near others.
- If you get a flu shot every fall, you reduce your chances of getting influenza pneumonia.
- If you have never had chickenpox, you can get a shot to prevent it. This reduces your chances of getting varicella pneumonia.