How Is Pneumonia Treated
When you get a pneumonia diagnosis, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia you have, how sick you are feeling, your age, and whether you have other health conditions. The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and prevent complications. It is important to follow your treatment plan carefully until you are fully recovered.
Take any medications as prescribed by your doctor. If your pneumonia is caused by bacteria, you will be given an antibiotic. It is important to take all the antibiotic until it is gone, even though you will probably start to feel better in a couple of days. If you stop, you risk having the infection come back, and you increase the chances that the germs will be resistant to treatment in the future.
Typical antibiotics do not work against viruses. If you have viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to treat it. Sometimes, though, symptom management and rest are all that is needed.
Most people can manage their symptoms such as fever and cough at home by following these steps:
If your pneumonia is so severe that you are treated in the hospital, you may be given intravenous fluids and antibiotics, as well as oxygen therapy, and possibly other breathing treatments.
Whats The Connection Between The New Coronavirus And Pneumonia
Infection with SARS-CoV-2 begins when respiratory droplets containing the virus enter your upper respiratory tract. As the virus multiplies, the infection can progress to your lungs. When this happens, its possible to develop pneumonia.
But how does this actually happen? Typically, the oxygen you breathe into your lungs crosses into your bloodstream inside the alveoli, the small air sacs in your lungs. However, infection with SARS-CoV-2 can damage the alveoli and surrounding tissues.
Further, as your immune system fights the virus, inflammation can cause fluid and dead cells to build up in your lungs. These factors interfere with the transfer of oxygen, leading to symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath.
People with COVID-19 pneumonia can also go on to develop acute respiratory distress syndrome , a progressive type of respiratory failure that occurs when the air sacs in the lungs fill up with fluid. This can make it hard to breathe.
Many people with ARDS need mechanical ventilation to help them breathe.
What Is Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia is a mild case of pneumonia. It is often caused by a virus or the mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria. When you have walking pneumonia, your symptoms may not be as severe or last as long as someone who has a more serious case of pneumonia. You probably wont need bed rest or to stay in the hospital when you have walking pneumonia.
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Focus On Your Breathing
Being more mindful of your breathing can help. Not sure how to do this? Try this exercise, which can be done by lying down or sitting up:
When breathing “properly,” the hand over your stomach should be moving more than the hand over your chest.
Using your abdomen when you are breathing means the diaphragm is doing its job and taking the workload off your lungs
Breathing in and counting for a few seconds, then out for few seconds while focusing on using your abdomen can help reduce some of your breathing difficulties. This breathing technique can also reduce the anxiety that sometimes comes with difficulty breathing.
What I Learned During 10 Days Of Treating Covid Pneumonia
I have been practicing emergency medicine for 30 years. In 1994, I invented an imaging system for teaching intubation, the procedure of inserting breathing tubes. This led me to perform research into this procedure, and subsequently teach airway procedure courses to physicians worldwide for the last two decades.
So at the end of March, as a crush of COVID-19 patients began overwhelming hospitals in New York City, I volunteered to spend 10 days at Bellevue, helping at the hospital where I trained. Over those days, I realized that we are not detecting the deadly pneumonia the virus causes early enough and that we could be doing more to keep patients off ventilators and alive.
On the long drive to New York from my home in New Hampshire, I called my friend Nick Caputo, an emergency physician in the Bronx, who was already in the thick of it. I wanted to know what I was facing, how to stay safe and about his insights into airway management with this disease. Rich, he said, its like nothing Ive ever seen before.
He was right. Pneumonia caused by the coronavirus has had a stunning impact on the citys hospital system. Normally an ER has a mix of patients with conditions ranging from the serious, such as heart attacks, strokes and traumatic injuries, to the non-life-threatening, such as minor lacerations, intoxication, orthopedic injuries and migraine headaches.
Its time to get ahead of this virus instead of chasing it.
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What Is The Recovery Time For Covid Pneumonia
Dr. Lee: Regardless of what causes it, regaining strength after pneumonia can take quite a long time from several weeks to many months.
During COVID pneumonia recovery, your body first has to repair the damage caused to the lungs then it has to deal with clearing leftover fluid and debris and, finally, scarring until the tissue is fully healed over all of which come with unpleasant symptoms.
For the 15% of infected individuals who develop moderate to severe COVID-19 and are admitted to the hospital for a few days and require oxygen, the average recovery time ranges between three to six weeks.
For the 5% who develop severe or critical illness, recovery can take much longer.
Everyone’s recovery is unique and depends on:
- Your overall health
- Whether you have preexisting conditions
- The severity of your infection
If you are recovering from COVID pneumonia and experiencing persistent problems, I recommend seeing your doctor for a follow-up evaluation. If your recovery is prolonged, he or she may recommend a specialized program, such as pulmonary rehabilitation, to help get you back on track.
In some cases, patients will have lingering symptoms after the initial COVID-19 infection, often called post-COVID syndrome. These “long haulers” can have variety of problems, since the virus can attack not only the lungs, but also the heart, kidneys and brain. Your doctor can also help you manage these lingering symptoms.
What Is Covid Pneumonia
Dr. Lee: Pneumonia occurs when a bacterial or viral infection causes significant damage and inflammation in the lungs. The resulting fluid and debris build-up makes it hard for a person to breathe sometimes to such an extent that oxygen therapy or ventilator support is required. Regardless of the bacteria or virus causing it, pneumonia can become very serious, even life-threatening.
In the case of COVID pneumonia, the damage to the lungs is caused by the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
When COVID pneumonia develops, it causes additional symptoms, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
What’s more is that COVID pneumonia often occurs in both lungs, rather than just one lung or the other. Additionally, the widespread inflammation that occurs in some people with COVID-19 can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome a severe type of lung failure.
Like other respiratory infections that cause pneumonia, COVID-19 can cause short-term lung damage. In more severe cases, the damage can last a long time. In fact, early data is showing that up to a third of COVID pneumonia patients have evidence of scarring on X-rays or lung testing a year after the infection.
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What Are The Treatment Options
Viral pneumonia usually goes away on its own. Therefore, treatment focuses on easing some of the symptoms. A person with viral pneumonia should get sufficient rest and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
A doctor may prescribe cough-relieving medication to help ease coughing. People should only take cough suppressant medicine if and when a doctor instructs them to because coughing helps clear the infection from the lungs. For those with thick lung mucus, a doctor may prescribe a cough expectorant.
In some cases of viral pneumonia, a doctor may prescribe antiviral medication to reduce viral activity. This treatment tends to be most effective when the virus is in the early stage of infection.
In rare instances, a doctor may hospitalize a person with viral pneumonia. People over the age of 65 or with chronic health conditions are more likely to need hospital care. The very young are also at higher risk for serious viral pneumonia.
The viruses that cause viral pneumonia are contagious. During the cold and flu season, a person can take steps to stay healthy. These steps may protect against viral pneumonia and other viral illnesses.
Some techniques that people can use to try to prevent getting sick include:
Signs Of Pneumonia In Dogs
Included below is a varied, but not exhaustive, list of symptoms to look out for when determining if there is cause for concern your dog has pneumonia. Your dog may require treatment if they are experiencing any of these symptoms, and you should contact your vet for guidance if you are concerned.
- bloody mucus from nose or mouth
- blue, grey, or purple mucus membranes
- Loss of Apetite
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How To Treat Pneumonia In Dogs At Home
Pneumonia in dogs can be a serious health concern, however, treatment is available and most dogs recover well. The staff at Carolina Veterinary Specialists share some of the symptoms of pneumonia in dogs, home treatment options, and what your vet can do to assist you in carrying for your sick canine companion.
When Should I See My Doctor
Pneumonia can be life-threatening if left untreated, especially for certain at-risk people. You should call your doctor if you have a cough that wont go away, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a fever. You should also call your doctor if you suddenly begin to feel worse after having a cold or the flu.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- I have a chronic condition. Am I at higher risk for pneumonia?
- Do I have bacterial, viral, or fungal pneumonia? Whats the best treatment?
- Am I contagious?
- How serious is my pneumonia? Will I need to be hospitalized?
- What can I do at home to help relieve my symptoms?
- What are the possible complications of pneumonia? How will I know if Im developing complications?
- What should I do if my symptoms dont respond to treatment or get worse?
- Do we need to schedule a follow-up exam?
- Do I need any vaccines?
How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Pneumonia in older adults can be difficult to diagnose. Your doctor will first request your medical history in which you may be asked things such as:
- your symptoms
- medications or supplements that youre taking
- your smoking history
- whether youve received your pneumococcal or influenza vaccinations
Your doctor will then perform a physical examination. Theyll check vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels. They may also use a stethoscope to listen for crackling sounds in your lungs.
In order to make a diagnosis, your doctor may also order the following:
- Blood tests. These tests involve taking a blood sample from a vein in your arm. The results can help indicate the presence of an infection.
- Imaging. Your doctor order imaging technology such as X-ray or CT scan to visualize your chest and lungs.
- Culture. Cultures can be taken from sputum or pleural fluid to help determine what type of germ may be causing your infection.
- Pulse oximetry. Pneumonia can affect the amount of oxygen that you can take in. This test measures the amount of oxygen in your blood.
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Risk Factors For Pneumonia
Certain groups of people are more susceptible to developing pneumonia and are at higher risk of suffering from its complications. They include
- Newborn infants and children whose age is 2 years or less.
- Individuals above 65 years of age.
- Those under medications or already suffering from any disease are at a higher risk due to their weakened immunity.
- Smokers and people who misuse drugs also have a higher probability of developing pneumonia.
If your symptoms are severe or you have been suffering from pneumonia for a long period without treatment, get medical help immediately. The emphasis on treating pneumonia at the earliest should not be taken lightly. This is because, if left untreated, it can become life-threatening. Hence, use these home remedies to treat pneumonia as soon as you observe the onset of its symptoms and do let us know if you found them useful.
Sleep On Your Stomach
When fighting pneumonia, lying on your stomach can help you breathe a little easier.
The majority of your lungs are on your backside. When you have pneumonia, your lungs are full of fluid. So by laying on your stomach, you allow more space for the air sacs to fill up. Furthermore, you won’t have the heart and stomach’s weight pushing against your lungs, making the workload a little easier.
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Ginger Or Turmeric Tea
A persistent cough can result in chest pain. Drinking warm tea made with fresh ginger or turmeric root may help reduce this pain.
The roots of both of these plants can have a natural anti-inflammatory effect in the body.
Chop up a thumb sized piece of either root and boil it in a pint or so of water. If a person prefers strong tea, they can boil it for longer or add more of the root. If the flavor is too sharp, they can try adding a spoonful of honey.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Dogs
No matter how your dog gets pneumonia, the resulting irritation and inflammation of the lungs generally cause the same symptoms. Coughing is a hallmark sign but it can also indicate other conditions such as collapsed trachea, kennel cough, and even heart disease. In addition to coughing, pneumonia may cause some of the following symptoms in your dog:
“Blowing” of the lips
Home Remedies For Symptoms Of Pneumonia
Depending on the origin of pneumonia, a doctor will prescribe medication to treat the infection, but throughout the recovery process, they will also specify:
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Eating nutritious foods
- Drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated
In addition, some home remedies may help individuals manage health problems and enhance recovery. The following are some natural methods that may help reduce the severity of Pneumonia:
1. Peppermint, eucalyptus, and fenugreek tea
Many warm herbal teas can help calm a scratchy throat, but herbs may be more advantageous. A study found that herbs, including peppermint and eucalyptus, had a calming effect on an individuals throat with upper respiratory tract viruses. These herbs may assist in breaking down the mucus and thus relieve the discomfort and inflammation caused by pneumonia.
Therefore, tea made from ground fenugreek seeds, eucalyptus or tea tree oils may ease a persistent cough. People can use these in a diffuser as well. However, it is essential to note that overuse of oils can aggravate their existing symptoms.
2. A saltwater gargle
Mucus in the oesophagus and chest can trigger more enhanced coughing and irritation. Something as simple as a warm saltwater gargle may help dislodge mucus or germs in the throat, providing some relief.
3. Vitamin C
5. Ginger or turmeric tea
6. Warm liquids
Sipping on warm liquids can help warm the body up and limit chills.
Some examples of warm drinks include:
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Costs Of Treating Pneumonia In Dogs
Antibiotics or other required medications can cost anywhere between $50 and $150. If your dog is severely dehydrated from the vomiting fluid therapy may be prescribed which alongside oxygen support can cost around $130. If your dog is hospitalized, the total cost of treatment for pneumonia in dogs can be between $500 and $2000. However, without knowing the cause, it is difficult to know the complete cost, so be sure to ask your vet about what treatment options are best for your dog’s diagnosis. The best way to keep costs low and manageable is to catch pneumonia early, so seek consultation with your vet if you suspect your dog may be suffering from a pneumonia infection.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
What Happens If I Get Pneumonia
How your pneumonia is treated will depend on what type you have and how severe your pneumonia is. Pneumonia can affect just one section or lobe of your lungs, or every space of both lungs.
If your pneumonia was caused by a bacterial infection, or fluids that collect after aspiration become infected, antibiotics may be prescribed to you. Fungal pneumonias can also be treated with antifungal medications.
When your pneumonia is caused by a virus, antibiotics and antifungals wont help. For some viruses, like influenza, an antiviral medication may be used. Otherwise, supportive care maybe even in a hospital is the best way to treat viral pneumonia.
Severe cases of pneumonia regardless of what caused it may require treatment with more intense therapies like supplemental oxygen, breathing treatments, or even mechanical ventilation.
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