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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 therefore your 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 intravenous medication, rather than by medicines given by mouth
For Managing Low Blood Oxygen

Oxygen Therapy

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 supplemental oxygen. 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 healthcare provider may decide that you need to be put on a mechanical ventilator until your lungs have a chance to heal.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C may reduce the symptoms and duration of pneumonia. Talk to your doctor about whether taking Vitamin C supplements is right for you.

Other Therapies

Postural draining, chest percussion, and deep breathing exercises may also be used to try to help clear the secretions from your lungs.

References

Pneumonia symptoms diagnosis and treatment. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/pneumonia/symptoms-diagnosis-and.html . Accessed October 3, 2012.

Pneumonia. National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI) website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu . Updated March 1, 2011. Accessed October 3, 2012.

Pneumonia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated August 27, 2012. Accessed October 3, 2012.

Pneumonia in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated August 27, 2012. Accessed October 3, 2012.

Primary Care Medicine . 4th ed. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2000.

Yang M, Yuping Y, et al. Chest physiotherapy for pneumonia in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Feb 17;(2):CD006338 .

10/21/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Hemilä H, Louhiala P. Vitamin C for preventing and treating pneumonia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 8;8.



Last reviewed October 2012 by Brian Randall, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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