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General Practice 2023

Treatment for pneumonia: at home and in the hospital

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Treatment for pneumonia: at home and in the hospital
Treatment for pneumonia: at home and in the hospital

Treatment for pneumonia should be carried out under the supervision of a general practitioner or a pulmonologist and is indicated according to the infectious agent responsible for the pneumonia, and is usually started in the hospital to prevent disease progression and transmission to other people.

In cases where pneumonia is caused by a virus, the body is usually able to eliminate it naturally, without the need for medication. Thus, if viral pneumonia is confirmed, basic care may be recommended by the doctor, such as resting or taking expectorants and fever medication, for example.

On the other hand, when pneumonia is caused by bacteria, treatment must be done with the use of antibiotics, as the organism cannot eliminate the microorganism on its own, in addition to the risk of spreading the bacteria to other parts of the body. body, which makes pneumonia more serious. In these cases, the patient is usually requested to be hospitalized so that treatment with antibiotics can be started directly into the vein before going home.


Home treatment

At home it is very important to keep all the indications, using all the medicines prescribed by the doctor. In addition, other precautions must be taken to speed up the treatment, such as:

  • Avoid leaving the house during the beginning of treatment, in the first 3 to 5 days, according to the type of pneumonia, because even if there are no symptoms, it is possible to transmit the disease to other people;
  • Take the medication at the correct times and doses, according to the doctor's prescription;
  • Drink about 2 liters of water a day to avoid dehydration;
  • Avoid using cough medicines that have not been prescribed by the doctor;
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the temperature, avoiding sudden changes.

Pneumonia is not always contagious, but its transmission is more frequent in cases of viral pneumonia, even during treatment. Therefore, patients should wear masks and avoid coughing or sneezing around other people, especially children, the elderly or patients with diseases that weaken the immune system, such as lupus or HIV. It is also important to remember to wash your hands well with soap and water or use alcohol gel, reducing the chances of transmission.

Treatment can take up to 21 days and during this period it is advised to go to the hospital only if symptoms worsen or if they do not improve after 5 to 7 days, especially fever and tiredness. Cough, usually dry or with little secretion, usually persists for a few more days, but with the use of medication or nebulization prescribed by the doctor, it tends to improve quickly.

See also what to eat to cure pneumonia faster.

Treatment in hospital

Treatment in the hospital is more common in cases of bacterial pneumonia, as the disease progresses very quickly and can put the patient's life at risk. Therefore, it is important to stay hospitalized to receive the medication directly into the vein and maintain a constant assessment of all vital signs until the disease is controlled, which can take up to 3 weeks. Understand how bacterial pneumonia is treated.

In addition, during hospitalization it may also be necessary to keep an oxygen mask to reduce the work of the lungs and facilitate recovery.

In the most serious cases, which are more frequent in the elderly, children or patients with autoimmune diseases, the disease can evolve a lot and prevent the functioning of the lungs, making it necessary to stay in an ICU to ensure breathing with a ventilator, which is a machine that replaces the lung during treatment.

Signs of improvement and worsening

Signs of improvement include reduced difficulty breathing, improved shortness of breath, and decreased fever. In addition, when secretions are produced, it is possible to observe the change in color that goes from greenish, to yellow, whitish and, finally, transparent, until it disappears.

Signs of worsening are more frequent when treatment is not started soon or when the patient has an immune disease, for example, and include increased coughing with phlegm, presence of blood in the secretions, worsening fever and increased shortness of breath. In these cases, it is usually necessary to stay in the hospital to start treatment with medication directly into the vein, as they are more effective.

See some home remedies that can facilitate and complete the treatment recommended by the doctor.

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