How Long Does Pneumonia Last

How long does pneumonia last? How serious is pneumonia? Are all pneumonia cases the same? Pneumonia is an often misunderstood illness. Once you understand what causes pneumonia, you will be better prepared to handle this illness and do the things you need to do to get better quickly.

Pneumonia is a respiratory illness caused by infection in the lungs. It manifests itself as inflammation of the lungs, the filling of the lungs with fluids and increasing concentrations of infection caused by either bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungus. When a person contracts pneumonia, the lungs are placed under a great deal of stress. The bronchial sacs inside the lungs fill with fluid and infection, forcing the lungs to work hard to clear and function properly.

Once diagnosed with pneumonia, you will most likely take a course of antibiotics, antiviral medications or anti-fungal medications, depending on the cause of your pneumonia. If your pneumonia is not very serious, you may be diagnosed with walking pneumonia. If you have a serious case of pneumonia, you may be diagnosed with double pneumonia. This does not mean your pneumonia is twice as bad as typical; it just means it's serious. If you have a serious case, you may be hospitalized, put on intravenous medications and even put on oxygen.

Most otherwise healthy people recover from pneumonia within two weeks of diagnosis. However, people who smoke, have asthma or other respiratory conditions or who are elderly can wrestle with pneumonia for weeks or even months. After the actual infection is resolved, they may have a lingering cough that persists for weeks or months. Keep a close eye on elderly friends or family who contract pneumonia. They may need extra medical attention to help them recover completely.

You will recover more quickly if you heed the following advice: get plenty of sleep, drink fluids, take your medications prescribed, and clear your lungs the best you can by taking hot steamy showers, inhaling hot steam from drinks and coughing up excess mucus when possible. Your doctor may prescribe a medication designed to thin the mucus in your lungs to help you avoid a worsening infection and to aid in clearing the lungs. Your doctor may tell you not to take any over-the-counter cough suppressants if your physician fears you won't clear your lungs well enough. Ask your doctor before taking over-the-counter remedies or herbal solutions so you can work with, not against, your doctor.

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