What's the treatment for pneumonia?
Treatment of pneumonia consists of respiratory support, including O2 if indicated, and antibiotics, which are selected on the basis of Gram stain results. If Gram stain is not performed or does not establish a diagnosis, antibiotics are selected on the basis of probabilities according to patient age, epidemiology, host risk factors, and severity of illness.
Antibiotics are the main causal therapy for pneumonia. The antibiotics that are used depend on the nature of the pneumonia and the immune status of the patient. Amoxicillin is used as first-line therapy in the vast majority of community patients, sometimes with added clarithromycin. In North America, where the atypical forms of community aquired pneumonia are becoming more common, clarithromycin, azithromycin, and the fluoroquinolones have displaced the penicillin-derived drugs as first line therapy. In hospitalised patients and immune deficient patients, local guidelines generally determine which combination of (generally intravenous) antibiotics is used. When in the hospital, respiratory treatments to remove secretions may be necessary. Occasionally, steroid medications may be used to reduce wheezing if there is an underlying lung disease.
Most patients with mild pneumonia can be treated at home with oral antibiotics. Patients should be sure to drink plenty of liquids. Coughing should not be suppressed, since this is an important reflex for clearing the lungs. Some physicians advise taking expectorants, such as guaifenesin (Breonesin, Glycotuss, Glytuss, Hytuss, Naldecon Senior EX, Robitussin), to loosen sputum. For severe pain, codeine or other stronger pain relievers may be prescribed. It should be noted, however, that codeine and other narcotics suppress coughing, so they should be used with care in pneumonia and often require monitoring.
More information on pneumonia
What is pneumonia? - Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung caused by infection with bacteria, viruses, or other organisms.
What types of pneumonia are there? - Types of pneumonia are bacterial pneumonia, viral pneumonia, mycoplasma pneumonia, pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, aspiration (or inhalation) pneumonia.
What is walking pneumonia? - Walking pneumonia is pneumonia that is usually mild enough that the child does not have to stay in bed.
What is aspiration pneumonia? - Aspiration pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs and bronchial tubes caused by inhaling foreign material.
What is bacterial pneumonia? - Bacterial pneumonia is pneumonia caused by bacteria. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia.
What is viral pneumonia? - Viral pneumonia is caused by various viruses. Viral pneumonia is usually milder than bacterial pneumonia.
What is bronchial pneumonia? - Bronchial pneumonia is when the pneumonia spreads to several patches in one or both lungs.
What is community-acquired pneumonia? - Community-acquired pneumonia occurs most commonly in very young and very old people.
What is hospital-acquired pneumonia? - Hospital-acquired pneumonia, also called nosocomial pneumonia, is an infection that patients get while they're in the hospital.
What is atypical pneumonia? - Atypical pneumonia is a pneumonia that does not respond to the usual antibiotic treatment.
What causes pneumonia? - Pneumonia is caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites or other organisms such as Streptococcus pneumoniae.
What're the risk factors for pneumonia? - Alcohol or drug abuse is strongly associated with pneumonia. The elderly and infants and young children are at greater risk of pneumonia.
What're the complications of pneumonia? - Complications of pneumonia that may occur include buildup of fluid in the space between the lung and chest wall.
What are the symptoms of pneumonia? - Symptoms of pneumonia are shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, shallow, and fever and chills.
How is pneumonia diagnosed? - The diagnosis of pneumonia is usually made from a medical history, a physical examination, and a chest X-ray.
What's the treatment for pneumonia? - Treatment of pneumonia consists of respiratory support, including O2 if indicated, and antibiotics.
How to prevent pneumonia? - Vaccines are available to protect against pneumococcal pneumonia, pneumonia caused by the bacterium.