Getting a timely treatment of Pneumonia can save life of the patient. Doctors will adopt the treatment therapy after considering various factors such as type of antibiotics to be used, deciding about admitting the patient in hospital, etc.
Doctors will decide if the patient can get the treatment at a hospital or home depending on his/her health condition. The treatment regimen involves offering appropriate supportive care, follow-up and preventive care.
Criteria for admitting in Hospital
A doctor will usually admit the pneumonia patients with following conditions into the hospital.
• Older adults at 65 years and above
• Young Adult
• Serious Medical Problem
• Not responding to antibiotics at home
• Do not receive proper supportive care at home
• Severe Symptoms
Treatment in hospital
The patients infected with pneumonia and hospitalised are given following treatment.
• Intravenous antibiotics for 5 – 8 days for severe cases.
• Oxygen therapy is administered to those patients who have low oxygen level in their bloodstream.
• Patients with uncomplicated pneumonia require only 2 or 3 days of intravenous antibiotics. They are shifted to oral therapy afterwards.
• As per the ITSA/ATS recommendations, the hospitalized patients of Pneumonia are treated with fluoroquinolones or a beta-lactam and macrolide.
• Patients are administered with chest therapy that includes chest tapping, incentive spirometry, rhythmic inhalation and coughing.
The treatment of Pneumonia varies depending on the infectious agent that had caused the infection.
Antibiotics are used for treating Bacterial pneumonia. Patients will experience the improvement in the symptoms from the very first dose; however one should finish the complete dose of the medicine to prevent the relapse of the infection. The symptoms will markedly improve in 1 to 3 days with antibiotics.
The Viral Pneumonia does not respond to antibiotics and treatment requires antiviral medicine. It takes usually 1 to 3 weeks for the symptoms to improve in viral pneumonia.
The patients are hospitalised till their vital signs show improvement and become stable. In majority of the cases, patients get stabilized in 3 days.
Doctor may prescribe the oral antibiotics to the patients who are stabilized and ready to leave the hospital.
The Chest therapy makes up an important part of the Pneumonia treatment therapy. It employs various techniques that assist in loosening the mucus and expelling it out of the lungs.
Incentive Spirometry: The spirometer is a plastic device that comprises of a breathing tube and a container with movable gauge. The patient is asked to exhale and inhales forcefully through the tube so that the level of gauge reaches its highest level possible. It eventually improves the breathing by loosening the sputum.
Rhythmic Breathing, Coughing and Chest Tapping: In this technique, patient is asked to breathe and cough at regular time intervals. The chest tapping is done before the breathing exercise for loosening the mucus in the lung.
The patient is asked to inhale deeply few times followed by coughing as deeply as possible for producing sputum.
After leaving the hospital, patient can continue the treatment at home for quick recovery.
Useful Tips for home treatment are as follows:
• Drink plenty of liquids, fluids, juice, water, etc; at frequent intervals
• Avoid alcohol and smoking
• Avoid suppressing the cough as cough helps in cleaning the airways. In fact, patient should practise taking deep breaths followed by deep coughing regularly.
• Doctors may also advise to take cough expectorants for loosening the mucus.
• Patient who experience mild pain take aspirin (in adults only), or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) after consulting with health care provider.
• Patients can also practise chest therapy at home as it helps in making quick recovery.