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Pneumonia Recovery Time

Pneumonia is a disease that affects the lungs and has a lot of repercussions if left untreated. This article will give you an insight into the recovery time for pneumonia.
Rahul Thadani
Last Updated: Mar 13, 2018
Pneumonia is a serious disease that primarily affects children and elderly people. It is characterized by infection and inflammation of lung tissues present in one or both the lungs.
A person who has contracted pneumonia experiences high fever, chills, cough, chest pain, etc. It may also involve fluid and pus accumulation in the lungs. There are hundreds of thousands of people who get affected by this disease every year, and the mortality rate of this disease is 5 - 30%.
The time required for complete recovery from pneumonia is usually between 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the severity of the infection, and the immune system of the individual who has contracted the disease.
Given below is a brief introduction to the types of pneumonia and their recovery time details, followed by some general information about this disease.
Types of Pneumonia
The lungs are divided into functional units known as lobes. If the infection or the inflammation occurs only in a particular lobe it is known as lobar pneumonia; but if several patches all over the lungs are affected, it is known as bronchial pneumonia. However, pneumonia is more commonly classified as bacterial or viral, on the basis of the causative agent. Apart from this, other rare types of pneumonia include fungal, parasitic, idiopathic or noninfectious pneumonia, and aspiration pneumonia.
Due to the presence of fluid or pus in the lungs, the lungs are not able to perform their tasks properly. The main task of the lungs is to circulate oxygen to all the cells in the body, after purifying it from the air. Pneumonia restricts this functionality of the lungs, and reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the various parts of the body.
Recovery Time Details
The recovery period for pneumonia depends on a variety of factors, the most obvious one being the immunity of the affected person. There are certain medications that are available in order to combat this illness, but these should not be administered without the consent of a doctor. Viral pneumonia will not respond to antibiotics, but bacterial pneumonia can be cured by the use of antibiotics.
The recovery period is generally between 3 - 6 weeks. In case of the elderly, complete recovery requires more time, especially if suffering from other respiratory disorders. In such individuals the recovery time may be more than 12 weeks. The observed recovery times in adults are as follows.
» A person suffering from bacterial pneumonia takes about 1 - 3 days to improve after starting an antibiotic treatment. However complete recovery may take about 3 weeks of time.
» Viral pneumonia cases are generally less severe than bacterial pneumonia but the patient will take about 4 - 5 days to improve, once the antivrial treatment is started. In the absence of treatment, it may take about 1 - 3 weeks for the symptoms to reduce.
Correct diagnosis and treatment also plays an important role as far as recovery is concerned, and if the patient can manage to alter some lifestyle habits, the recovery period becomes even shorter. Smoking, consuming alcohol, as well as going in crowded and dusty areas will only aggravate the condition and increase the amount of time required for recovering, especially in elderly people and in children. Complete bed rest and isolation from crowds will speed up the recovery process, and also minimize the chances of someone else contracting the infection.
The biggest fear as far as pneumonia is concerned is that of a relapse. Many people think they have completely recovered from the illness once a few of the symptoms vanish, and they resume their daily activities. This ends up in a relapse of the illness, and the relapse turns out to be more severe than the original disease.
Pneumonia occurs due to a variety of reasons, almost 30 causes of pneumonia are known. The two main causes of pneumonia are bacteria, including mycoplasmas, and viruses. Respiratory disorders increase the risk of pneumonia, and are often associated with idiopathic pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia generally arises due to the entry of a foreign material in the lungs.
The recovery period depends on the severity of the infection, and the severity of this condition depends on the cause of it. Pneumonia can be caused either by bacterial infection or by viral infection, and both forms usually display almost similar characteristics and symptoms. The following are the generally observed symptoms of pneumonia.
  • High fever
  • Shivering and chills
  • Decreased appetite
  • Pain in the muscles and joints
  • Excessive tiredness and fatigue
  • Intense cough with lot of phlegm
  • Difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath
The precise treatment depends on the type and severity of the condition, and may require hospitalization as well. The common approach for treating pneumonia generally consists of the following options.
  • Bacterial pneumonia is treated with antibiotics; whereas antiviral treatment is recommended for viral pneumonia.
  • In addition, medicines to alleviate fever and chills may also be prescribed.
  • Expectorants and medicines to reduce cough formation may be prescribed.
  • The patient is advised to take complete bed rest, and increase the intake of fluids.
While undergoing treatment, it is advisable to practice good hygiene, follow a healthy diet, ensure complete rest, as well as avoid alcohol consumption and smoking (active and passive).
Preventive Measures
Prevention, as they say, is always better than cure. Here are a few things to keep in mind to stay away from illnesses in general.
  • Keep your hands cleans and wash them often.
  • Stay away from smoking and alcohol as they lower your immunity as well as lung function.
  • Take extra care when recovering from a flu or a cold as the body tends to be most susceptible at this time.
  • Try to avoid interaction with patients suffering from pneumonia. This will prevent you from contracting pneumonia, and also reduce the possibility of you passing on an infection to the ailing person.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle to maintain a healthy immune system and ward off any health issues.
The aggressiveness of pneumonia makes the prevention of this disease imperative. Once a person is beset with pneumonia a lot of time and energy is expended in order to recover completely.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.