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Parkinson's Disease Health Center

Parkinson's Disease and Pneumonia

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How Can I Protect Myself From Pneumonia?

  • Get a viral influenza (flu) vaccine (shot) each year. Flu vaccines are prepared annually in anticipation of that year's virus strain. Influenza can make pneumonia infection more likely.
  • Get the pneumonia vaccine to protect yourself against Streptococcus pneumoniae.
  • Get treated for any other infections in the respiratory system, especially those in the lungs. Wash your hands before eating, before preparing food, and after going outside.
  • Try to avoid people who have colds or the flu. Ask them to visit you when they are feeling better.
  • Eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get plenty of rest.
  • Contact your doctor if you think you have symptoms. Don't wait for symptoms to worsen, as you may develop an emergency condition.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Don't use alcohol heavily.

 

How Is Pneumonia Treated?

Bacterial pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics -- usually by mouth. For more severe pneumonia, you may need to go to the hospital to be treated. Hospital treatment may include oxygen therapy to increase oxygen in the blood, intravenous (given through a needle in your vein) antibiotics, and fluids. Pain relievers and medicine to reduce fever may also be given. With treatment, bacterial pneumonia usually begins to improve within 24-48 hours.

Viral pneumonia is usually less serious. A stay in the hospital is rarely needed. Antibiotics cannot be used to treat viral pneumonia, but may be given to fight a bacterial infection that is also present. Other drugs, such as those listed above, may be used to lessen symptoms. If you are given antibiotics, make sure you take all of the medicine, even if you feel better. If you stop taking the medicine too early, the infection can come back and may be harder to treat.

For both viral and bacterial pneumonia:

  • Drink warm fluids to relieve coughing.
  • Rest.
  • Don't rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.
  • Don't smoke.

 

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on October 11, 2014
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