Healthy Living

What Is the Treatment of Choice for Pneumonia?

What Is the Treatment of Choice for Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a lung infection that affects the air sacs. The sacs are either filled with fluid or pus causing a cough with phlegm. The symptoms of pneumonia range from mild to severe, which could be life-threatening. People from all age groups, from infants to old age, people with other health problems, or have weak immune systems can be affected by pneumonia.

People who have community-acquired pneumonia are usually treated at home with medication. Although most symptoms ease in a few days or weeks, the feeling of tiredness can persist for a month or more. The treatment for pneumonia involves curing the infection and preventing possible complications.

The main treatment used for bacterial pneumonia is antibiotics. The type of treatment to be considered depends on the type and severity of pneumonia, the patient's age, and the overall health of the patient. Levofloxacin is rapidly becoming a popular choice when it comes to treating pneumonia. Levofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone used to treat CAP. Let's take a look at the different types of pneumonia along with their corresponding treatments.

Bacterial Pneumonia

Pneumonia caused by bacteria is commonly treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are given orally as tablets or in the form of fluids through intravenous drips, respiratory, and oxygen therapies. People who take antibiotic medications must complete the treatment course as prescribed by a healthcare professional. At the beginning of the treatment, the symptoms experienced are gradually reduced. However, a person's recovery depends on the severity of the infection.

If you stop taking your antibiotic in the middle of the course, then the bacteria can become resistant to the antibiotic, leading to more complications and severe illness. Respiratory therapy, such as breathing exercises, postural drainage, and incentive spirometry can be done to remove the mucus that has collected in the lungs. It may take some time to identify the type of bacteria causing the illness and to choose the best antibiotic to treat it. If the symptoms do not improve, the doctor may recommend a different antibiotic. Moreover, smoking has to be stopped immediately. The antibacterial medicine called amoxicillin is very effective most of the time.

Viral Pneumonia

Viral pneumonia is treated with antiviral drugs since antibiotics do not work in this case. If a cough is causing a lot of discomforts, treatment will be given to control coughing. A cough medicine can calm a persistent cough, so that patients can take rest. Since coughing is a natural mechanism to remove the fluid from the lungs, it is advisable not to eliminate coughing completely. Oxygen therapy can help distribute oxygen to the cells of the body and is administered through a nasal tube or facial mask.

Patients who have community-acquired pneumonia are generally treated at home with medications. Home treatment options for pneumonia include taking a lot of rest, drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and taking medications, such as acetaminophen or aspirin to reduce fever and improve discomforts. Although most symptoms are relieved in a few days or weeks, tiredness may remain for months. Smoking should be immediately stopped since it further damages the lungs. Eating healthy food, resting, and having a good sleep are required to improve the body's immune system. 

Fungal Pneumonia

Antifungal medications are administered to treat pneumonia caused by a fungal infection. Hospitalization may be required if the symptoms are severe, which usually happens in people above 65 years of age and infants. Antibiotic medication will be provided intravenously through drips. Moreover, respiratory support will be given, so there is sufficient oxygen to enter the lungs and bloodstream.

Mycoplasma Infection

The causative agent of this type of pneumonia is Mycoplasma pneumoniae. The symptoms of this type of pneumonia are different and milder. It affects all age groups and is usually treated at home with lots of rest.

Aspiration Pneumonia

This type of pneumonia occurs when a person inhales food, liquid, saliva, or even vomit into the lungs. It is more likely to happen when something disturbs one's normal gag reflex. Brain injury, swallowing problems, the use of alcohol, smoking, or drugs can cause aspiration pneumonia.

Other Causes

Pneumonia is also caused by other infections due to gas, food, liquid, or dust.

Treatment

People with community-acquired pneumonia can be treated at home, but certain side effects such as tiredness can persist for a few more weeks.

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial pneumonia, although it takes time to identify the specific bacterium that causes the infection. If the symptoms do persist, then the doctor may change the medicine.
  • Cough Medicine: A cough medicine is used to calm a cough so that the patient can rest. Over-the-counter cough medicines are available. One can take the smallest dose to loosen the fluid from the lungs and get some rest.
  • Pain Relievers: Drugs such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin can be used to deal with discomfort and fever.

Treating Severe Pneumonia

If the symptoms do not go away with oral antibiotics, the patients are treated in the hospital. A person is hospitalized if he or she has the following conditions:

  • 65 years old and above
  • Kidney problems
  • Low blood pressure (BP lower than 90/60) 
  • Requires a breathing aid
  • Fever 
  • Low heart rate

Diagnosis

An X-ray is taken to confirm the lung infection. Blood and sputum tests are performed to know the specific bacterium that causes the infection. The identification of the causative agent helps in deciding the course of treatment. Those who are suffering from a severe infection might be treated in the intensive care unit (ICU). Some side effects of the treatment include tiredness. However, it goes away on its own with some rest.

Preventing Pneumonia

Pneumonia can be avoided by getting pneumococcal and influenza immunizations. Vaccination helps in protecting people against several types of pneumonia. Smoking should also be avoided as it seriously damages the lungs. 

Only 1 in 100 dies due to pneumonia. The most affected people are the elderly and those who have other underlying health problems. If pneumonia is caused by Legionella bacteria, the infection can only be treated in the ICU. If pneumonia frequently recurs, it is considered as a sign of having weak lungs and an equally weak immune system. 

Key Takeaways

  • Pneumonia caused by bacteria is commonly treated with antibiotics.
  • The type of treatment to be considered depends on the type and severity of pneumonia as well as the age and overall health of the patient. 
  • Levofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone used to treat community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).