Bronchopneumonia; Community-acquired pneumonia
Your doctor must first decide whether you need to be in the hospital. If you are treated in the hospital, you will receive fluids and antibiotics in your veins, oxygen therapy, and possibly breathing treatments. It is very important that your antibiotics are started very soon after you are admitted.
You are more likely to be admitted to the hospital if you:
- Have another serious medical problem
- Have severe symptoms
- Are unable to care for yourself at home, or are unable to eat or drink
- Are older than 65 or a young child
- Have been taking antibiotics at home and are not getting better
However, many people can be treated at home. If bacteria are causing the pneumonia, the doctor will try to cure the infection with antibiotics. It may be hard for your health care provider to know whether you have a viral or bacterial pneumonia, so you may receive antibiotics.
Patients with mild pneumonia who are otherwise healthy are sometimes treated with oral macrolide antibiotics (azithromycin, clarithromycin, or erythromycin).
Patients with other serious illnesses, such as
- Fluoroquinolone (levofloxacin [Levaquin], gemifloxacin [Factive], or moxifloxacin [Avelox])
- High-dose amoxicillin or amoxicillin-clavulanate, plus a macrolide antibiotic (azithromycin, clarithromycin, or erythromycin)
- Cephalosporin antibiotics (for example, cefuroxime or cefpodoxime) plus a macrolide (azithromycin, clarithromycin, or erythromycin)
If the cause is a virus, typical antibiotics will NOT be effective. Sometimes, however, your doctor may use antiviral medication.
You can take these steps at home:
- Control your fever with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen), or acetaminophen. DO NOT give aspirin to children.
- Do not take cough medicines without first talking to your doctor. Cough medicines may make it harder for your body to cough up the extra sputum.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and bring up phlegm.
- Get lots of rest. Have someone else do household chores.
Review Date: 04/27/2010
Reviewed By: Allen J. Blaivas, DO, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, UMDNJ-NJMS, Attending Physician in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Veteran Affairs, VA New Jersey Health Care System, East Orange, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.