Pneumonia is one of the most common lung infections caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungi. It often spreads through the transmission of bodily fluids, usually from coughing and sneezing. Pneumonia affects oxygen intake as it causes the air sacs to become inflamed and filled with pus or other liquid. While the cases of pneumonia can range from mild to severe, there are many successful treatment options. Luckily, advanced medical practices help for easier recovering from pneumonia.
The diagnosis of pneumonia can be challenging because its symptoms are variable. Depending on the severity of the infection, some of its signs are often confused with the common colds or influenza. These include fever, coughing, chills, and difficulty in breathing. Your doctor will need to identify the precursor causing your illness by running some tests to diagnose pneumonia.
A blood test confirms the infection and shows the type of germ that is causing your illness. If it is pneumonia, a chest x-ray is necessary to know the extent of inflammation within your lungs.
After a complete pneumonia diagnosis, your doctor will use this information to create a treatment plan. Treating the infection depends on the type of pneumonia you have and other factors such as your current condition, age, and medical history. Ultimately, the goal of the treatment is to eliminate the infection and prevent further complications.
It is essential to continue with your treatment until you fully recover and feel better. Your doctor may prescribe you medications that will help cure the source of infection. Typically, though, most treatment plans prioritize symptom management. Controlling your fever with OTC medications, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting lots of rest helps with mild conditions. However, severe cases may require you to stay in the hospital for a while as your doctor may need to give you intravenous fluids and breathing therapy sessions.
Recovering from Pneumonia
With the proper treatment, you can successfully recover from pneumonia. However, while some people can return to their regular routines in less than a week, there may be others that could take time to feel better. It is impossible to point out how quick your recovery will be, but here’s what you can expect:
Once you start to take antibiotics or antiviral medications, your symptoms should begin to improve. During the first week, your fever should be gone. You will gradually recover, and your chest will start to produce less mucus. You might experience more coughing than usual, which is entirely normal to help get rid of the infection. After a month, your coughing will lessen, and you will find it easier to breathe.
With continuous treatment, most of your symptoms should be gone by the next three months. Although, you may still feel some tiredness from time to time. During this period, it is crucial to have plenty of rest and avoid pushing yourself too hard. As your condition allows you to gain more energy, you can get back to your normal daily activities.
In six months, you should be on your way towards full recovery. It would be best to have your doctor perform some follow-up tests to ensure that you are free from the infection.
- Don’t hurry into your recovery. You will gradually get back to your normal condition, and rushing into recovery will only worsen your situation. Use this time to take some rest and care for yourself.
- Stop spreading the germs. While you are still recovering, try to limit your contact with the people around you. By doing so, you are helping keep the germs from spreading to other people. Be mindful in covering your mouth and your nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Practice hand hygiene. Wash your hands thoroughly and practice the proper handwashing techniques. Frequent handwashing can help get rid of the germs that you encounter on everyday items.
- Exercise lightly. You have to get your lungs working either by practicing deep breathing techniques or blowing through a straw. Taking deep breaths will help clear out the mucus from your lungs.
- Drink plenty of fluids. In case we haven’t emphasized it enough, drinking eight to ten glasses of water helps ease the symptoms of pneumonia. Water helps rehydrate your body and flushes out any harmful germs that may still be lingering inside your system.
- Eat healthily. Food rich in vitamins and minerals helps regain your energy and gives you enough strength to be more active. Add fruits and vegetables into your diet and limit your fat intake for a better recovery.
- Get vaccinated. There are two types of vaccines available to help prevent pneumonia. These vaccines will protect you against the common precursor of pneumonia, the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. Vaccines help protect people against the risk of acquiring pneumonia and the recurrence of the infection.
Pneumonia is a severe infection that we should not take for granted. Without proper care and treatment, the condition can affect one or both of your lungs and lead to life-threatening problems.
If you happen to have pneumonia symptoms or know someone who does, it would be best to talk to a doctor as soon as possible. Early detection and diagnosis are some of the best ways for an easier recovery.