Pneumonia Treatment

Treatment for pneumonia depends on your risk factors and how serious your pneumonia is. Many people who have pneumonia are prescribed medicine and recover at home. You may need to be treated in the hospital or an intensive care unit (ICU) if your pneumonia is serious.


Your healthcare provider may prescribe some of the following medicines to treat your pneumonia at home or at the hospital, depending on how sick you are.

Management at home

If your pneumonia is mild, your provider may prescribe medicines or suggest over-the-counter medicines to treat it at home.

  • Antibiotics may be prescribed for bacterial pneumonia. Most people begin to feel better after one to three days of antibiotic treatment. However, you should take antibiotics as your doctor prescribes. If you stop too soon, your pneumonia may come back.
  • Antiviral medicine is sometimes prescribed for viral pneumonia. However, these medicines do not work against every virus that causes pneumonia.
  • Antifungal medicines are prescribed for fungal pneumonia.
  • Over-the-counter medicines may be recommended to treat your fever and muscle pain or help you breathe easier. Talk to your provider before taking cough or cold medicine.

Management at the hospital

If your pneumonia is serious, you may be treated in a hospital so you can get antibiotics and fluids through an intravenous (IV) line inserted into your vein. You may also get oxygen therapy to increase the amount of oxygen in your blood. If your pneumonia is very serious, you may need to be put on a ventilator.


You may need a procedure or surgery to remove seriously infected or damaged parts of your lung. This may help you recover and may prevent your pneumonia from coming back.

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