How Long Does It Take To Recover From Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a serious illness that can take quite a toll on a persons lungs and body. It can take anywhere from a week to several months to fully recover from it, says Dr. Rayman Lee, pulmonologist at Houston Methodist.
The length of time it takes for you to recover from pneumonia is influenced by:
- Your age
- The severity of your illness
- Whether you have other health conditions
- The type of pneumonia
If youre generally healthy and have only a mild case of pneumonia, your symptoms should begin to improve one to two days after starting treatment.
Most people with mild pneumonia are able to return to their everyday activities in a week, although fatigue and cough can linger for an entire month, says Dr. Lee.
Recovery timelines become more murky for people who have severe pneumonia.
For more serious cases that require hospitalization, were not only focused on clearing the infection, were also focused on preventing or treating complications that can develop including difficulty breathing, fluid buildup in the lungs, sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome and lung abscesses, warns Dr. Lee.
Pneumonia and its complications can wreak havoc on a persons lungs and body. And, it can take anywhere from one to six months for a person to recover and regain strength after being hospitalized for pneumonia.
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Are Vaccines Available To Prevent Pneumonia
Yes, there are two types of vaccines specifically approved to prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. Similar to a flu shot, these vaccines wont protect against all types of pneumonia, but if you do come down with pneumonia, its less likely to be as severe or potentially life-threatening especially for people who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
- Bacterial pneumonia: Two pneumonia vaccines, Pneumovax23® and Prevnar13®, protect against the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia.
- Pneumovax23® protects against 23 different types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children over 2 years of age who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
- Prevnar13® protects against 13 types of pneumonia bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children under 2 years of age. Ask your healthcare provider about these vaccines.
If you have children, ask their doctor about other vaccines they should get. Several childhood vaccines help prevent infections caused by the bacteria and viruses that can lead to pneumonia.
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Covid Pneumonia: How Long Does Recovery Take
You’re likely familiar with the common, mild symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, dry cough and fatigue.
But, in more severe cases, COVID-19 can also cause serious complications, including pneumonia.
“We still have a lot to learn about COVID-19, particularly about the havoc it can wreak on the lungs and the pneumonia it causes, which is often now called COVID pneumonia,” says Dr. Rayman Lee, pulmonologist at Houston Methodist.
That being said, there’s still plenty that experts like Dr. Lee do know about COVID pneumonia, including about how long it can take to fully recover from it.
How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Pneumonia
After one gets affected with the organism which causes pneumonia, it can take anywhere between a day to 10 days for symptoms to surface. For healthy people suffering from pneumonia, it is like a case of general illness, which takes at most a fortnight to get cured. However, some symptoms of Pneumonia such as cold, cough and running nose may continue to affect the patient for longer duration. Older people and individuals who are already suffering from other diseases take much longer to recover. The recovery period is said to be at least 6 to 8 weeks long.
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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.
What Are The Factors Which Play A Role In Getting Rid Of Pneumonia
The time taken to get rid of pneumonia depends on certain factors. How severe the pneumonia is and how long it takes to get rid of pneumonia depends on:
The Health & Age Of The Individual: Individuals who are aged, suffer from ill-health and who are recuperating from illness are more susceptible to acute Pneumonia and hence it takes relatively longer for them to get rid of pneumonia and get their health back in shape after the pneumonia bout. The aftermath of such cases may result in medical complications, such as septicaemia or in the bloodstream . A young and healthy adult or adolescent whose immunity system is stronger recovers faster than other pneumonia patients.
The Cause of Pneumonia: Bacteria or Virus: A study has revealed that viral pneumonia is less life threatening than bacterial pneumonia and is less severe too. So getting rid of viral pneumonia is relatively easier.
How Fast the Pneumonia was Treated: As in the case of general illness, it is advisable to get pneumonia treated at the earliest, preferably at the point when its symptoms are first discovered to get rid of it sooner.
Patientâs Immune System: The level of immunity in an individualâs body is also a major factor on which the recoverability of pneumonia depends. The stronger the immune system, better the chances are for a quicker recovery from pneumonia.
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Types Of Antibiotics For Pneumonia
There are multiple types of antibiotics that work in slightly different ways. Some are more commonly used to treat pneumonia than others based on things like:
- The bacteria causing infection
- The severity of the infection
- If youre in a patient group at greatest risk from pneumonia
The types of antibiotics that your doctor might typically prescribe for pneumonia include the following:
Antibiotics prescribed for children with pneumonia include the following:
- Infants, preschoolers, and school-aged children with suspected bacterial pneumonia may be treated with amoxicillin.
- Children with suspected atypical pneumonia can be treated with macrolides.
- Children allergic to penicillin will be treated with other antibiotics as needed for the specific pathogen.
- Hospitalized, immunized children can be treated with ampicillin or penicillin G.
- Hospitalized children and infants who are not fully vaccinated may be treated with a cephalosporin.
- Hospitalized children with suspected M. pneumoniae or C. pneumoniae infection may be treated with combination therapy of a macrolide and a beta-lactam antibiotic .
- Hospitalized children with suspected S. aureus infections might be treated with a combination of Vancocin or clindamycin and a beta-lactam.
Pneumonia: A Very Serious Condition
The respiratory disease pneumonia can be a very dangerous infection caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses, or an injury to the lungs. In pneumonia, the air sacs essential to breathing, called the alveoli, become inflamed. They fill with pus or with fluid, making breathing a serious task and robbing the body of adequate oxygen supply.
The causative agents behind pneumonia can enter the body through breathing , or through the eyes. Pneumonia can affect one or both sides of the lungs if the persons body is not capable to defending itself from the pathogens that can lead to an infection.
The symptoms of pneumonia are many and varied, ranging from chest, muscle and abdominal pain, to a high body temperature and severe coughs, to diarrhea, vomiting and overwhelmingly feeling exhausted.
As far as the treatment for pneumonia goes, it strictly depends on the underlying pathogen that caused pneumonia in the first place.
If the infection is bacterial or mycoplasmal, there are antibiotics that will cure it. However, if the pneumonia resulted from a viral infection, for example COVID-19 pneumonia, there are no medical treatments to cure the pneumonia, and the treatment is focused on symptom management. In this case, it is crucial to give the body time and support to fight the virus.
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Drug Trial To Treat Newly Discovered Targets In Covid
As a result of the detailed analysis, researchers identified critical targets to treat severe SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia and lessen its damage. The targets are the immune cells: macrophages and T cells. The study suggests macrophages cells typically charged with protecting the lung can be infected by SARS-CoV-2 and can contribute to spreading the infection through the lung.
Northwestern Medicine will test an experimental drug to treat these targets in COVID-19 pneumonia patients in a clinical trial early in 2021. The drug to be tested quiets the inflammatory response of these immune cells, thus enabling initiation of the repair process in the injured lung.
How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and do a physical exam. He or she may order a chest X-ray and a complete blood count . This is usually enough for your doctor to know if you have pneumonia. You may need more tests if you have bad symptoms, are an older adult, or have other health problems. In general, the sicker you are, the more tests you may need.
Your doctor may also test mucus from your lungs to find out if bacteria are causing your pneumonia. Finding out what is causing your pneumonia can help your doctor choose the best treatment for you. However, often the organism can’t be found and a broad-spectrum antibiotic may be given.
How Can I Manage My Symptoms
- Rest as needed. Rest often while you recover. Slowly start to do more each day.
- Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids help thin your mucus, which may make it easier for you to cough it up.
- Do not smoke. Avoid secondhand smoke. Smoking increases your risk for pneumonia. Smoking also makes it harder for you to get better after you have had pneumonia. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
- Use a cool mist humidifier to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for you to breathe and help decrease your cough.
- Keep your head elevated. You may be able to breathe better if you lie down with the head of your bed up.
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How Long Do They Last
While walking pneumonia is usually milder than pneumonia, it involves a longer recovery period. It can take about six weeks to fully recover from walking pneumonia. However, most people recover from pneumonia in about a week. Bacterial pneumonia usually starts to improve shortly after starting antibiotics, while viral pneumonia usually starts to improve after about three days.
If you have a weakened immune system or a severe case of pneumonia, the recovery period might be longer.
THE MAIN DIFFERENCE:
While walking pneumonia is milder than pneumonia, it requires a longer recovery period. It can last for up to six weeks, while pneumonia symptoms usually start to improve within a couple of days.
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How To Regain Your Strength After Pneumonia
While recovering from mild pneumonia, be sure to:
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Slowly work back into your exercise routine
“Physical activity can help your lungs regain strength but go slow. Start with light exercise and stop if your cough worsens or you have trouble breathing. If a light workout feels okay, you can put a little more effort into your next workout,” says Dr. Lee.
However, Dr. Lee’s advice for someone recovering from severe pneumonia looks quite different.
“The first thing to realize is that your body may be extremely weak after being discharged from the hospital, so you’ll need to take extra care leaning on your support network, if possible,” says Dr. Lee.
What Is The Survival Rate For Elderly That Have Pneumonia
According to the Centers for Disease Control around a million people in the United States go to the doctor or an emergency room for treatment of pneumonia. Of those who seek treatment, 50,000 die each year.
With community-acquired pneumonia 10 percent who are admitted are placed in an ICU unit. Even in ICU, the death rate of people with pneumonia can reach 25 percent.
Survival depends on many factors. Age is an important factor and more elderly people succumb to pneumonia than any other adult group. Overall health is another important factor as those with existing health issues face a harder time fighting off pneumonia.
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Can Pneumonia Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are many factors that can raise your risk for developing pneumonia. These include:
People who have any of the following conditions are also at increased risk:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- sickle cell disease
You can help prevent pneumonia by doing the following:
- Get the flu vaccine each year. People can develop bacterial pneumonia after a case of the flu. You can reduce this risk by getting the yearly flu shot.
- Get the pneumococcal vaccine. This helps prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Dont smoke. Smoking damages your lungs and makes it harder for your body to defend itself from germs and disease. If you smoke, talk to your family doctor about quitting as soon as possible.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep. These things help your immune system stay strong.
- Avoid sick people. Being around people who are sick increases your risk of catching what they have.
Will My Child Be Given Antibiotics
That depends on whether their pneumonia is caused by bacteria or a virus.
If it is likely that your child has bacterial pneumonia, they will be given antibiotic tablets or liquid to fight the bacteria. They will usually improve a lot within the first 48 hours but theyll probably continue to cough for longer. Its important to finish the whole course of antibiotics, even if your child seems better.
If your childs pneumonia is caused by a virus then antibiotics wont work.
Its not always easy to tell if pneumonia is caused by bacteria or a virus. To be on the safe side, your doctor may decide to give antibiotics if they cant be sure of the cause.
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How To Recover From Pneumonia
This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support , Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support , Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 52 testimonials and 92% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 445,548 times.
Is Pneumonia Contagious
In general, pneumonia is not contagious, but the upper respiratory viruses and bacteria that lead to it are. When these germs are in someones mouth or nose, that person can spread the illness through coughs and sneezes.
Sharing drinking glasses and eating utensils, and touching used tissues or handkerchiefs of an infected person also can spread pneumonia. If someone in your home has a respiratory infection or throat infection, keep their drinking glasses and eating utensils separate from those of other family members, and wash your hands well and often, especially if you’re handling used tissues or dirty handkerchiefs.
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Going To The Hospital
If you have severe pneumonia, you may have to go to the hospital:
- In most cases of pneumonia you get in your daily life, such as at school or work , it is not necessary to go to the hospital.footnote 2
- About one-third of people with community-based pneumonia are age 65 or older.footnote 2 Older adults are treated in the hospital more often and stay longer for the condition than younger people.footnote 2 Pneumonia is more serious in this group, because they often have and may develop other medical problems.
What You Need To Know:
Pneumonia is an infection in your lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. You can become infected if you come in contact with someone who is sick. You can get pneumonia if you recently had surgery or needed a ventilator to help you breathe. Pneumonia can also be caused by accidentally inhaling saliva or small pieces of food. Pneumonia may cause mild symptoms, or it can be severe and life-threatening.
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