The first decision to be made is whether you need hospitalization. Your doctor will look at these factors to make this decision:
- How severely ill you are
- Whether you have other medical conditions
- Your age and overall risk of developing complications (the very young and the very old are most at risk)
- Whether you are on medications that weaken your immune system
- Whether your blood oxygen is dangerously low
- Whether the type of organisms that are infecting you might best be treated with IV and/or oral medications
For Managing Low Blood Oxygen
If pulse oximeter or arterial blood gas testing reveals that you have low blood oxygen or other abnormalities of the gases in your blood, then you may need oxygen therapy. Supplemental oxygen can be given to you through small tubes that blow the oxygen into your nostrils (nasal cannula) or through an oxygen mask.
If you are severely ill and cannot get enough oxygen on your own, your doctor may decide that you need to be put on mechanical ventilation until your lungs have a chance to heal.
Vitamin C may reduce the symptoms and duration of pneumonia. Talk to your doctor about whether taking Vitamin C supplements is right for you.
Postural draining, chest percussion, and deep breathing exercises may also be used to try to help clear the secretions from your lungs.
Community-acquired pneumonia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115170/Community-acquired-pneumonia-in-adults. Accessed November 10, 2019.
Community-acquired pneumonia in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113670/Community-acquired-pneumonia-in-children. Accessed November 10, 2019.
Diagnosing and treating pneumonia. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pneumonia/diagnosing-and-treating.html. Accessed November 10, 2019.
Treatment. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu/treatment. Accessed November 10, 2019.
Yang M, Yan Y, Yin X, Wang BY, Wu T, Liu GJ, Dong BR. Chest physiotherapy for pneumonia in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(2):CD006338.
Last reviewed January 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP Last Updated:1/21/2020