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Do You Have to Stay at Home During Pneumonia Treatment?

They can help loosen the mucus in your lungs. Think about this, though. Older people should contact their doctor if they have a persistent cold, the flu, or bronchitis, since each of these is more likely to lead to pneumonia in older people. More severe cases may require a hospital stay so that intravenous antibiotics can be given and the condition can be carefully monitored. This includes the flu virus and the virus that causes the common cold.

I did have bilateral pneumonia last year but worked through it, but my situation is the only one I believe in which this should be done. I work at home behind my computer and I felt well enough to work, but I definitely remember thinking that there was no way I'd be able to bop around behind a med cart if I still worked the floor.


Pneumonia appears on the X-ray film as whitish areas called infiltrates. Although of limited use in determining the organism causing the infection, chest X-rays can effectively help doctors determine the extent and location of infection. In addition, X-rays can detect complications of pneumonia, such as abscesses and fluid around the lungs pleural effusion.

CT and MRI scans can also detect tissue damage, enlarged lymph nodes, and any tumors or other objects blocking the airways to the lungs. If a bacterial pneumonia is suspected, a sputum gram stain is particularly helpful in determining the pneumonia-causing bacteria. Sputum samples are placed on a thin slide and stained with a violet dye called a gram dye to reveal the presence of bacteria.

Bacteria are often categorized as either gram-positive or gram-negative, based on whether they absorb the dye or not. Gram-positive bacteria include pneumococcus, Staphylococcus aureus , group B streptococcus, and group A streptococcus. Gram-negative bacteria include species of pseudomonas, haemophilus, and moraxella, as well as Haemophilus influenza type B.

Special stains are necessary to reveal fungal infections. Little is known about the safety and effectiveness of alternative treatments for lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia. A Dutch study suggested that these treatments may represent an unnecessary expense. Because of the potential serious consequences of improper treatment, your doctor may recommend that you not rely on these less-proven therapies. Pneumonia Overview A common serious illness of the lungs Before antibiotics came into popular use in , pneumonia was called "the Captain of the Men of Death.

Detailed Description Pneumonia is not one disease but many diseases. Here are some of the more common types of pneumonia: People of all ages are susceptible to bacterial pneumonia, but debilitated or post-operative people, alcoholics, and people with reduced immunity are most vulnerable.

Pneumococcal pneumonia often follows a viral infection such as a cold or flu that has weakened the lungs' defenses, allowing the bacteria to invade them. Pneumococcal pneumonia used to be most commonly treated with the antibiotics penicillin and erythromycin.

Amoxicillin with clavulanate, azithromycin, and clarithromycin are favored. Viruses cause about half of all pneumonias. Although most viruses simply cause a cold or flu, others can cause pneumonia, especially in children. Viral pneumonias are common in infants and young children but rare in adults. Antibiotics, which are effective against bacteria but not viruses, are not helpful for this type of pneumonia.

Most viral pneumonias are short-lived and go away on their own, but a small percentage can be severe or even fatal. People with decreased immune systems are susceptible to pneumonias caused by cytomegalovirus CMV and other herpes viruses, as well as rubeola and adenovirus. Respiratory syncytial virus RSV and para-influenza viruses are the most common viral causes of pneumonia in infants and children.

Viral pneumonias can also lead to secondary bacterial infections. Mycoplasma is the tiniest living organism and is the most common cause of pneumonia in people age 5 to Mycoplasma pneumonia sometimes referred to as "atypical" or "walking" pneumonia most often occurs in the spring and tends to spread through confined groups, such as students, military personnel, and families.

Although it can be severe, mycoplasma pneumonia is usually mild, even when left untreated. However, some people experience long-lasting weakness. This less common pneumonia occurs when particles are inhaled into the lungs, causing inflammation or infection. Also known as pyogenic pneumonia, aspiration pneumonia is most common in alcoholics, people with poor dental health, and those with conditions that alter consciousness or decrease normal gag and swallowing reflexes.

Aspiration pneumonia can be bacterial, mechanical, or chemical in nature. Other types of pneumonia. Caused by an organism thought to be a fungus, PCP can usually be treated successfully with trimethoprim the generic name for Bactrim , although the infection may return later. The organisms that cause the pneumonia Legionella species live in water, and outbreaks tend to occur when the organism spreads through the air conditioning systems of hospitals or hotels.

Other types of pneumonia include rickettsia and tuberculosis pneumonia. How Common Is Pneumonia? What to Expect If you're young and otherwise healthy, your strong natural defenses give you a good chance of recovering quickly. The following groups are most likely to be hospitalized: People age 65 or older People with other serious health problems, such as kidney, heart or lung disease, diabetes, cancer, or a depressed immune system People with low white blood cell count People in whom a severe type of pneumonia is suspected such as pneumonias caused by Staphylococcus aureus , gram-negative bacilli, or anaerobes People who cannot take oral medications Conventional Treatment Treatment Overview Mild to moderate cases of pneumonia do not require hospitalization.

Drug Therapy Antibiotic drugs are the mainstay of treatment for most pneumonia cases. Here are some of the antibiotics used to treat certain types of pneumonia: Bacterial pneumonia Erythromycin order Metronidazole Amoxicillin http: Here are some common choices: Expectorants loosen sputum and may make it easier for you to cough out material from your lungs.

Guaifenesin is a popular expectorant. Pain relievers can help symptoms such as headache, chest pain, and sore throat. Over-the-counter products such as acetaminophen the generic name for Tylenol and ibuprofen the generic name for Motrin and Advil are often used for mild pain relief.

Severe pain may require prescription narcotic drugs such as codeine, but these medications may need to be avoided since they suppress the natural cough reflex. Procedures Chest therapy refers to procedures that remove sputum from the lungs and increase lung capacity. An incentive spirometer is a handheld device used to measure a person's breathing ability. The person first completely exhales, then inhales deeply from a breathing tube to cause a gauge in the device to rise as high as possible.

It encourages the user to improve his or her ventilation and measure recovery. Rhythmic breathing and coughing exercises bring sputum up and out of the lungs.

Every few hours, the person or a caregiver lightly taps on the chest and back to loosen mucus from the lungs. Then, the person inhales three or four times and coughs deeply to produce sputum. Activity or Diet Modifications Your doctor will probably recommend plenty of rest. Monitoring the Condition Be sure to contact your doctor if: Treatment Considerations Antibiotic resistance.

Considerations for Children and Adolescents Young children and infants are more susceptible to certain types of pneumonia and less susceptible to others. Considerations for Older People Your immune system becomes less effective as you age, which opens the way for viral, bacterial, and other infections, as well as immune disorders and allergies. Considerations for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women Pregnant women should talk with their doctor before taking any drug prescription or nonprescription.

Last updated 23 May Causes Established Causes The American Lung Association reports that there are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia. Risk Factors The following risk factors may make you more likely to get pneumonia than others: Age 65 or older Age 2 or younger Depressed immune system such as people with HIV, those undergoing cancer treatment, and organ transplant recipients Alcoholism Cigarette smoking Diabetes Heart failure Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD Recent abdominal surgery Recent chest injury.

Most pneumonias share some of the following traits: Cough producing phlegm Chills with shaking Chest pain Fever Shortness of breath Less common and more variable symptoms of pneumonia may include the following: Specific Tests Sputum tests. Sputum is the material coughed up from the lungs and brought up through the mouth.

The color, amount, consistency, and odor of the sputum can indicate what type of pneumonia is present.

To perform a sputum gram stain test, your doctor will ask you to cough as deeply as possible into a specimen container. The sample is sent to a laboratory, where it is either examined under the microscope or cultured to see what organisms flourish.

This helps prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Smoking damages your lungs and makes it harder for your body to defend itself from germs and disease. If you smoke, talk to your family doctor about quitting as soon as possible. Practice a healthy lifestyle. Get plenty of sleep.

These things help your immune system stay strong. Being around people who are sick increases your risk of catching what they have. Is there a vaccine for pneumonia? Getting the pneumonia vaccine is especially important if you: Are 65 years of age or older. Have cochlear implants an electronic device that helps you hear. Treatment Treatment for pneumonia depends on several factors. What can I do at home to feel better?

Get lots of rest. Rest will help your body fight the infection. Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids will keep you hydrated. They can help loosen the mucus in your lungs. Try water, warm tea, and clear soups. Stop smoking if you smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoke can make your symptoms worse. Smoking also increases your risk of developing pneumonia and other lung problems in the future. You should also avoid lit fireplaces or other areas where the air may not be clean.

Stay home from school or work until your symptoms go away. This will help clear your lungs and make it easier for you to breathe. Everyday life Your doctor may schedule a follow-up appointment after he or she diagnoses you with pneumonia. What are possible complications of pneumonia? Complications of pneumonia include: This fluid can become infected. This can make breathing very difficult. To drain the fluid, a tube may need to be placed between your lungs and your chest wall, or you may need surgery.

Bacteria in the bloodstream. This can occur when the pneumonia infection in your lungs spreads to your blood. This increases the risk that the infection will spread to other organs in your body. Bacteria in the bloodstream are treated with antibiotics.

Sometimes pus can collect in your lungs and cause abscesses. These are usually treated with antibiotics. Sometimes the abscesses need to be drained with a needle or surgically removed. When should I call my family doctor? Questions to Ask Your Doctor I have a chronic condition. Am I at higher risk for pneumonia? Do I have bacterial, viral, or fungal pneumonia? How serious is my pneumonia?

Will I need to be hospitalized? What can I do at home to help relieve my symptoms? What are the possible complications of pneumonia? Do we need to schedule a follow-up exam? Do I need any vaccines? July 12, This article was contributed by: In a similar situation my daughter ended up hospitalized.

Then they wouldn't let her back at work without the doctor's ok. She works at the hospital so I was surprised somebody didn't tell her to go home before she ended up flat on her back.

Mar 8, '10 by cherrybreeze Occupation: Well, not only are you in pain, I'd worry about being contagious? If your doctor advises you not to work, there's your answer. I am not familiar with how "walking" pneumonia feels, but I had a "regular" ha pneumonia following the flu in the fall, and it was awful. Don't push yourself, you need to rest or you'll only get sicker, and be out of work possibly a lot longer. Take care and get better. Mar 8, '10 by skittlebear , LPN Joined: That's a scary situation and I'm glad your daughter is doing better.

When I saw her she was in bad shape so I was surprised that they let her work in the hospital in that condition. Mar 8, '10 by RhiaRN75 Occupation: Just my two cents worth, but walking pneumonia is usually caused by mycoplasma pneumoniae and can be spread by close contact. There's nothing more up close and personal then being a nurse, lol. If you're not familiar with it, medline, cdc. It can make you sick for several weeks so if you don't rest now you may be sick for a while.

We had an outbreak several years ago in my area- I think we admitted more kids for that then we have for flu or RSV. I hope you feel better!


Walking pneumonia is not life-threatening, but it is not a condition you should take lightly. Caused by a bacterial or environmental infection of the lungs, walking pneumonia is contagious. “Walking pneumonia" sounds like it could be the name of a sci-fi horror flick. But it's actually the least scary kind of can be milder than the other types, and you usually don’t. Diagnosed w/pneumonia, h/o asthma, out of work 1 week, am RN in OR, feeling better, still coughing & weak, should I stay out of work longer? Dr. Al Hegab Dr. Hegab Yes, better: Stay few days more resting, it takes more for the lungs to fully recover from pneumonia, depending on the site and severity, keep taking your asthma controller.