How Is Pneumonia Treated?Before deciding on a person's treatment, a healthcare provider will consider:
- The cause of pneumonia
- How severe the symptoms are
- The person's age
- The person's overall health.
People who have more severe symptoms or underlying health problems may need treatment in the hospital. However, most people can be treated at home. The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and prevent complications.
Antibiotics may be prescribed (see Antibiotics and Pneumonia). They should be taken exactly as prescribed. This will decrease the chances of the antibiotic not completely eliminating the infection.
Getting plenty of rest and drinking fluids will also help. Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) can be used for pain relief and/or fever. Cough medicines are usually not recommended. The only time they are recommended is to help a person sleep.
Are You at Risk for Serious Pneumonia?Pneumonia and its symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Many factors affect how serious the condition is, such as the type of germ causing the infection and the person's age and overall health.
Pneumonia tends to be more serious for:
- Infants and young children.
- Cigarette smokers.
- Older adults (people age 65 or older).
- People who have other health problems, such as congestive heart failure (CHF), diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- People who have weak immune systems as a result of diseases or other factors. These may include HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy, or an organ or bone marrow transplant.