ZocdocAnswersHow is pneumonia treated?

Question

How is pneumonia treated?

I am 29 and one of my friends caught pneumonia, and she's trying to treat it herself. Is this ok?

Answer

Pneumonia is a very common health problem and accounts for a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Bacteria are the most commonly identified etiology of pneumonia. There are a few specific types of bacteria that make up the bulk of the cases, including Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Most young and otherwise healthy patients will not require hospitalization as part of the treatment of their pneumonia; however, given the fact that the bacteria above are commonly found to cause pneumonia, it is recommended that antibiotics (specifically those that cover the most common bacterial culprits) be used as part of the standard treatment regimen. Given that a pneumonia is a potentially serious illness and can lead to poor clinical outcomes, it is recommended that your friend seek consultation from a doctor. If your friend truly has pneumonia, then that means that she has already had some form of chest imaging (most commonly, a chest x-ray) to make the diagnosis. If this is not the case, then she should seek consultation with her primary care doctor to first make a diagnosis and then begin the appropriate treatment.

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