The first decision to be made is whether you need hospitalization. Your doctor will look at these factors to make this decision: How severely ill you areWhether you have other medical conditionsYour age and overall risk of developing complications (the very young and the very old are most at risk)Whether you are on medications that weaken your immune systemWhether your blood oxygen is dangerously lowWhether the type of organisms that are infecting you might best be treated with IV and/or oral medications
If pulse oximeter or arterial blood gas testing reveals that you have low blood oxygen or other abnormalities of the gases in your blood, then you may need oxygen therapy. Supplemental oxygen can be given to you through small tubes that blow the oxygen into your nostrils (nasal cannula) or through an oxygen mask.
If you are severely ill and cannot get enough oxygen on your own, your doctor may decide that you need to be put on mechanical ventilation until your lungs have a chance to heal.
Vitamin C may reduce the symptoms and duration of pneumonia. Talk to your doctor about whether taking Vitamin C supplements is right for you.
Postural draining, chest percussion, and deep breathing exercises may also be used to try to help clear the secretions from your lungs.
Diagnosing and treating pneumonia. American Lung Association website. Available at:
http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pneumonia/diagnosing-and-treating.html. Accessed November 10, 2016.
Treatment. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at:
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu/treatment. Updated September 26, 2016. Accessed November 10, 2016.
Yang M, Yan Y, Yin X, Wang BY, Wu T, Liu GJ, Dong BR. Chest physiotherapy for pneumonia in adults.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(2):CD006338.
Last reviewed November 2016 by David L. Horn, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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