Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It is not usually serious; however, if it goes untreated, it can become fatal. This is especially true for the elderly and for those individuals who have other health problems such as liver failure, emphysema, and COPD.
Most of the time, pneumonia can be treated at home. This involves getting lots of bed rest in order to avoid heavy breathing. You should also make sure to drink lots of fluids so that your lungs can bring up the buildup of phlegm more easily. To help with the fever aspect, it’s a good idea to take either aspirin, NSAIDs (like ibuprofen), or acetaminophen.
Avoid cough medicine unless otherwise advised by a doctor. You need to be able to cough up the phlegm that is being deposited into your lungs, and taking cough medicine would prohibit this. However, take note of excessive coughing, as this is a sign of severe pneumonia.
When the pneumonia is more severe, treatment will depend on the type of pneumonia you have.
For example, bacterial pneumonia can be cured with macrolide antibiotics, like azithromycin or clarithromycin. These can be delivered orally or via intravenous fluid (delivery method depends on how much you need). Sometimes, a patient will require extra oxygen.
Viral pneumonia, on the other hand, can’t be cured with antibiotics. Antivirals will be required in these cases, the type of antiviral being dependent on the virus infecting the lungs. Viral pneumonia usually clears up in 1-3 weeks.
Fungal pneumonia is treated with antifungal medications. The antifungal medications will need to specifically target the fungus that is in your lungs. In some cases, dead cells may need to be surgically removed so that healthier lung tissue can heal faster. Fungal pneumonia typically takes around 7-0 days to clear.
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