Skip to content

    Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Viral Pneumonia

    Next Steps

    Follow-up

    • 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.

    Outlook for Viral Pneumonia

    Most people recover from viral pneumonia quickly with no damage to the lungs. You are at a greater risk for developing complications if you are very old or very young, or if you have a weakened immune system or chronic heart or lung disease.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on May 10, 2015
    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    man coughing
    You may not even know you have it.
    blood clot
    Signs of this potentially fatal complication.
     
    man coughing
    When a cold becomes bronchitis.
    human lungs
    Causes behind painful breathing, fluid buildup.
     

    chest x-ray
    Slideshow
    Bronchitis Overview
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Copd Myth Fact Quiz
    QUIZ
    Energy Boosting Foods
    SLIDESHOW
     

    lungs
    Article
    smokestacks
    Article
     
    woman coughing
    Article
    Lung xray and caduceus
    Article