What Is The Recovery Time For Covid Pneumonia
Dr. Lee: Regardless of what causes it, regaining strength after pneumonia can take quite a long time from several weeks to many months.
During COVID pneumonia recovery, your body first has to repair the damage caused to the lungs then it has to deal with clearing leftover fluid and debris and, finally, scarring until the tissue is fully healed over all of which come with unpleasant symptoms.
For the 15% of infected individuals who develop moderate to severe COVID-19 and are admitted to the hospital for a few days and require oxygen, the average recovery time ranges between three to six weeks.
For the 5% who develop severe or critical illness, recovery can take much longer.
Everyone’s recovery is unique and depends on:
- Your overall health
- Whether you have preexisting conditions
- The severity of your infection
If you are recovering from COVID pneumonia and experiencing persistent problems, I recommend seeing your doctor for a follow-up evaluation. If your recovery is prolonged, he or she may recommend a specialized program, such as pulmonary rehabilitation, to help get you back on track.
In some cases, patients will have lingering symptoms after the initial COVID-19 infection, often called post-COVID syndrome. These “long haulers” can have variety of problems, since the virus can attack not only the lungs, but also the heart, kidneys and brain. Your doctor can also help you manage these lingering symptoms.
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Causes And Risk Factors Of Pneumonia
How do you get pneumonia? The majority of the germs that cause infection are spread from person to person through droplets, from coughing or sneezing.
- A weakened immune system due to human immunodeficiency virus or cancer
People who smoke are at higher risk for pneumonia, as are people on immunosuppressive medications, and people who are frequently in close, crowded spaces with others, such as college students and military personnel.
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Other Ways To Prevent Pneumonia
You can take the following steps to help prevent pneumonia:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers to kill germs.
- Dont smoke. Smoking prevents your lungs from properly filtering out and defending your body against germs. For information about how to quit smoking, visit Smoking and Your Heart and Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. These resources include basic information about how to quit smoking. For free help and support, you may call the National Cancer Institutes Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT .
- Keep your immune system strong. Get plenty of physical activity and follow a healthy eating plan. Read more about heart-healthy living.
- If you have problems swallowing, eat smaller meals of thickened foodand sleep with the head of your bed raised up. These steps can help you avoid getting food, drink, or saliva into your lungs.
- If you have a planned surgery, your doctor may recommend that you dont eat for 8 hours or drink liquids for 2 hours before your surgery. This can help prevent food or drink from getting into your airway while you are sedated.
- If your immune system is impaired or weakened, your doctor may recommend you take antibiotics to prevent bacteria from growing in your lungs.
Favorite Orgs That Can Help Fight Pneumonia
Those over age 65 have a higher risk of getting pneumonia than younger adults. They may be especially susceptible to community-acquired pneumonia, spread among large populations of elderly people in settings such as assisted living facilities. This organization, devoted to finding the best products and services for seniors, publishes advice on how older adults should handle prevention and care.
Influenza is a common cause of pneumonia. Several national healthcare organizations and the CDC are collaborating in an effort called United Against the Flu to stress the importance of getting immunized. The groups website supplies resources and details on the vaccination.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bacterial Versus Viral Pneumonia In Adults
Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild sometimes called walking pneumonia to severe. How serious your case of pneumonia depends on the particular germ causing pneumonia, your overall health, and your age.
Bacterial pneumonia: Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Symptoms include:
- High fever
Additional symptoms appearing about a day later include:
- Higher fever
- Shortness of breath
When Would I Need To Be Hospitalized For Pneumonia
If your case of pneumonia is more severe, you may need tostay in the hospital for treatment. Hospital treatments may include:
- Fluids, antibiotics and other medicines given through an IV
- Breathing treatments and exercises to help loosen mucus
People most likely to be hospitalized are those who are most frail and/or at increased risk, including:
- Babies and young children
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with health conditions that affect the heart and lungs
It may take six to eight weeks to return to a normal level of functioning and well-being if youve been hospitalized with pneumonia.
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Pneumonia And Long Covid
In a Q& A about lingering COVID-19 symptoms, the Cleveland Clinic notes that it is seemingly random who experiences long-lasting symptoms and who doesn’t. So, its not quite clear whether having pneumonia in the past is connected with having long COVID.
As a way to find answers, in 2021, the National Institutes of Health launched an ongoing study into the underlying biological causes of prolonged symptoms and what makes some people more likely to get long COVID.
Avoid Exposure To People Who Are Ill
Most respiratory infections are spread through tiny particles in the air or on the surfaces we touch. Avoiding contact with people that you know are sick is an important step in preventing respiratory infections and possible pneumonia.
If youre in a crowded area or cant avoid being near people who are sick, be sure to:
- wash your hands frequently
- encourage others to cover their cough or sneeze
- avoid sharing personal items
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How Can I Help Myself Feel Better
If your doctor has prescribed medicine, follow the directions carefully.
You may feel better in a room with a humidifier, which increases the moisture in the air and soothes irritated lungs. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, especially if you have a fever. If you have a fever and feel uncomfortable, ask the doctor whether you can take over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to bring it down. But don’t take any medicine without checking first with your doctor a cough suppressant, for example, may not allow your lungs to clear themselves of mucus.
And finally, be sure to rest. This is a good time to sleep, watch TV, read, and lay low. If you treat your body right, it will repair itself and you’ll be back to normal in no time.
Bacteria Overwhelm Your Immune System And Multiply Inside Your Lungs
When macrophages inside the air sacs get overwhelmed trying to fight bacteria, they call for reinforcements. Additional immune cells called neutrophils arrive to help eat up and kill more bacteria. Macrophages also produce chemicals that help regulate other types of immune cells. The goal is to neutralize the invasion without damaging lung tissue. In many people with healthy immune systems, this goal is achieved. Many healthy people do not get pneumonia even when pneumonia-causing bacteria successfully reach the air sacs in large enough numbers to overwhelm macrophages.
After some time, the immune system starts to recognize specific proteins of the bacteria and produces specific antibodies. These antibodies recognize and bind to the proteins, activating chemicals that destroy targeted bacteria. People who have been vaccinated with pneumonia vaccines produce these antibodies earlier and more effectively. If you have been vaccinated, you have antibodies in your system, making it easier to recognize bacteria and produce more antibodies to kill them. This is especially important in people who have weaker immune systems, such as the elderly and people with chronic illnesses.
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What Is Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia is a mild case of pneumonia. It is often caused by a virus or the mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria. When you have walking pneumonia, your symptoms may not be as severe or last as long as someone who has a more serious case of pneumonia. You probably wont need bed rest or to stay in the hospital when you have walking pneumonia.
What Is Pneumonia Exactly
Pneumonia is an infection in the gas-exchanging units of the lung , says Michael Niederman, M.D., clinical director of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. Translation: the air sacs in your lungs become inflamed or even fill with fluid or pus, which interferes with your bodys ability to deliver oxygen to your blood.
About half the time, its due to bacteria, says Dr. Edelman. The other half the time, its due to viruses. The most common type of pneumonia is caused by the bacteria streptococcus pneumoniae, in the same family of bacteria that causes strep throat. Influenza is also a key virus that can spur pneumonia, and fungi can be a culprit, too. The novel coronavirus, of course, can also cause pneumonia, albeit one with a longer incubation period than, say, the flu, says Dr. Dasgupta.
Pneumonia develops if the organism overwhelms the patients host defenses, says Dr. Niederman. This basically means that a foreign bug takes over your immune system, even if youre generally healthy. Thats because certain organisms, like those associated with the flu, can be particularly hostile or invade your body in large numbers.
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How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Doctors diagnose pneumonia mainly by talking to the person who is unwell and examining them.
Tests for pneumonia include blood samples, a swab from inside the nose or throat, urine or sputum to try to identify the cause of the pneumonia. A chest x-ray is usually also taken. If you are in hospital, doctors will also monitor to see if there is enough oxygen in your blood.
Take Steps To Help Your Body Recover
The following steps can help your body recover from pneumonia.
- Choose heart-healthy foods, because good nutrition helps your body recover.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help you stay hydrated.
- Dont drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. Alcohol and illegal drugs weaken your immune system and can raise the risk of complications from pneumonia.
- Dont smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Breathing in smoke can worsen your pneumonia. Visit Smoking and Your Heart and Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. For free help quitting smoking, you may call the National Cancer Institutes Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT .
- Get plenty of sleep. Good quality sleep can help your body rest and improve the response of your immune system. For more information on sleep, visit our How Sleep Works health topic.
- Get light physical activity. Moving around can help you regain your strength and improve your recovery. However, you may still feel short of breath, and activity that is too strenuous may make you dizzy. Talk to your doctor about how much activity is right for you.
- Sit upright to help you feel more comfortable and breathe more easily.
- Take a couple of deep breaths several times a day.
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Pneumonia Treatments And Covid
According to the World Health Organization , bacterial pneumonia should be treated with antibiotics, which are usually prescribed at a health center.
If your symptoms are severe, it is important that you call your healthcare provideror seek immediate helpto get the proper treatment. Severe symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Bluish color in your lips or fingertips
- A high fever
- Cough with mucus that is severe or worsening
Although COVID-19 is caused by a virus, people with the illness can still develop a superinfection, which is a reinfection or secondary infection caused by bacteria. If this happens, antibiotics will be given to the patient. In order to prevent antibiotic resistance, when antibiotics become useless against bacteria, some researchers have suggested following antimicrobial stewardship principles .
Moreover, because severe cases of pneumonia may require treatment at a hospital, healthcare providers must consider the chance that a patient may acquire coinfections in hospitals. So, to be safe and not add to superinfection among hospitalized patients, antibiotics are warranted.
How To Cure Pneumonia At A Low Level
If you are just starting out, here is the first pneumonia cure you will have access to:
- Antibiotic paste
It is simply made with:
- 1 sheet of yeast
- 1 piece of silica
- 1 piece of charcoal
Be careful, however, this remedy only partially cures pneumonia. In fact, you only halve the remaining time of the disease. You still recover 15% of your health points.
If you want to completely cure the disease, here’s how.
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What Causes Chest Infections
Most bronchitis cases are caused by viruses, whereas most pneumonia cases are due to bacteria.
These infections are usually spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This launches tiny droplets of fluid containing the virus or bacteria into the air, where they can be breathed in by others.
The infections can also be spread to others if you cough or sneeze onto your hand, an object or a surface, and someone else shakes your hand or touches those surfaces before touching their mouth or nose.
Certain groups of people have a higher risk of developing serious chest infections, such as:
- babies and very young children
- children with developmental problems
How To Not Let Your Body Catch Pneumonia After Recovering From Covid
Pneumonia is extremely common among those whose lungs are too weak or vulnerable to virus attacks. COVID can damage your lungs to a great extent, thus taking care of this organ post-COVID is important to not let your body catch pneumonia. To keep it simple, Dr. Mukherjee says that the best way to reduce the risk of developing pneumonia are certain lifestyle changes, including turning into a non-smoker , limiting alcohol intake, getting a flu-shot and taking the jabs against COVID-19 as well .
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Most Read In Health News
When you have pneumonia, the alveoli – tiny air sacs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged – fill with fluid.
It affects around eight in 1,000 adults a year, and it’s more common in autumn and winter.
While it can severely affect people of any age, it’s more likely and can be more serious among the young or elderly.
While pneumonia symptoms are similar to other illnesses, such as a chest infection – they can develop in as fast as 24 hours.
The infection’s development can also depend on the age of the sufferer.
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Atypical or walking pneumonia is prevalent among school-age children. They may not feel ill enough to demand a day off school, but they could be tired, suffering from headaches, a minor fever or a dry cough.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae is responsible for up to 20 per cent of adult pneumonia cases.
While it is rare, if you are struggling to shake your Omicron infection and feeling it’s getting worse, pay attention to if you have some of the listed symptoms below.
If you do, don’t worry but call for help and an expert can assess you quickly.
People who develop pneumonia often make a full recovery without any extra complications.
Common symptoms include a dry or phlegm-y cough – and breathing may be rapid and shallow, you may feel breathless all the time, and experience chest pain.
Fever, sweating and shivering, loss of appetite and a rapid heartbeat are all also symptoms.
What Is Pneumonia Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Pneumonia is a lower respiratory lung infection that causes inflammation in one or both lungs.
Air sacs in your lungs called alveoli can then fill up with fluid or pus, causing flu-like symptoms that can persist for weeks or cause rapid deterioration of breathing leading to hospitalization. Pneumonia doesn’t respond to over-the-counter cold and sinus medicines.
Pneumonia comes in different forms and is caused primarily by bacteria or viruses, which are contagious, and less commonly by fungi or parasites.
The type of germ contributes to how serious the illness can become and how its treated. The severity of an infection depends on many factors, including your age and overall health, as well as where you may have acquired the illness.
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What Happens If I Get Pneumonia
How your pneumonia is treated will depend on what type you have and how severe your pneumonia is. Pneumonia can affect just one section or lobe of your lungs, or every space of both lungs.
If your pneumonia was caused by a bacterial infection, or fluids that collect after aspiration become infected, antibiotics may be prescribed to you. Fungal pneumonias can also be treated with antifungal medications.
When your pneumonia is caused by a virus, antibiotics and antifungals wont help. For some viruses, like influenza, an antiviral medication may be used. Otherwise, supportive care maybe even in a hospital is the best way to treat viral pneumonia.
Severe cases of pneumonia regardless of what caused it may require treatment with more intense therapies like supplemental oxygen, breathing treatments, or even mechanical ventilation.