Pneumonia is a very serious disease, with the most severe cases resulting in death. An average of 40,000 to 70,000 thousand Americans die each year from this debilitating disease. It generally involves an inflammation of the lungs caused by a variety of sources—bacteria, chemicals, viruses, and even physical damage. Although some cases are mild enough that you’ll be feeling like you’ve just caught a common cold, it is still important to know how to treat the symptoms of pneumonia.
The first step is to check whether or not your symptoms match those of pneumonia. Take some time to evaluate how you are feeling. Do you experience a sharp pain in your chest as you breathe in deeply? Is your phlegm rust-colored? Are you running a high fever? Do some research on your symptoms, and if they can indeed be classified as pneumonia symptoms, go see your doctor right away. The doctor will run some tests and diagnose your illness based on the results.
In case pneumonia is confirmed, your doctor will then prescribe some anti-pneumonia medication. You’ll likely be told to take either oral or intravenous antibiotics like penicillin. The doctor will direct you to where you can get the medication. When taking the medication, make sure you follow the directions precisely. The type of medication will depend heavily on the type of pneumonia you have, and there are over 50 kinds. You do not want to play around when your health is concerned.
Boost your immune system by drinking plenty of fluids. This will also help loosen the congestion in your lungs. The best things to drink at this point are water and fruit juices.
You may be experiencing some body pains as well. The coughing and difficulty in breathing will take its toll on you, and the fever will give you aches. While your body is fighting off the infection, you can take analgesics to deal with the pain. Consult a trained health care professional regarding what analgesics you can take before anything else. Some doctors might prescribe codeine in cases of severe pneumonia. Remember to take this medication sparingly—codeine will suppress your coughing, but coughing is actually good for your lungs.
As you are fighting off pneumonia, it is important that you get plenty of rest. Nap as much as you want, and make it a point to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Your body is working overtime to battle the infection, so it is recommended that you give it as much rest as you can.
While you’re undergoing treatment, you can try exercising your lungs. Cough, and then take a deep breath. Allow your lungs to stretch and hold the breath in for about 10 seconds. Exhale strongly and forcefully. This will aid in healing your damaged lungs. If congestion is a problem, take an expectorant like guaifenessin to loosen things up. Keep in mind that, to date, no studies have proven that expectorants aid in recovery from pneumonia. They will, however, help you feel better. Remember, before taking any treatment at all, consult a trained health care professional.