When a person is diagnosed with viral pneumonia, antibiotics are not prescribed. Viral pneumonia cannot be cured with antibiotics. This is because these medicines will not kill the virus causing the illness. Antibiotics do work on bacteria, however, which is why they are prescribed for bacterial pneumonia.
Most cases of pneumonia can be treated at home; however, more serious cases do require time in the hospital. If you have viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine to treat it. This type of pneumonia usually improves in one to three weeks.
In addition to taking medicines, other things a person can do to recover from pneumonia and prevent complications include getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids, and taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications for fever and pain relief.
(For more information, click Pneumonia Treatment. This article offers more details on why there is currently no cure for viral pneumonia and describes other types of treatment options that may be used.)
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: ArthurSchoenstadt, MD
List of references (click here):
Mandell LA, Wunderink RG, Anzueto A, et al. Infectious Diseases Society of America/American Thoracic Society consensus guidelines on the management of community-acquired pneumonia in adults. Clin Infect Dis. 2007;44 Suppl 2:S27.
Niederman MS, Mandell LA, Anzueto A, et al. Guidelines for the management of adults with community-acquired pneumonia. Diagnosis, assessment of severity, antimicrobial therapy, and prevention. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001;163:1730.
Levison M. Pneumonia, including necrotizing pulmonary infections (lung abscess). In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 13th ed. New York (NY): McGraw-Hill;1994.
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