Pneumonia is no fun and usually requires several weeks for recovery. When you’re starting to recover from pneumonia, you might be tempted to do too much, too fast. Instead, listen to your body and to your doctor. Unfortunately, the recovery process can include several “good” days followed by another “bad” day, which means that you might overexert yourself before you’re entirely over the disease. Recovering from pneumonia requires that you continue to be vigilant about your health until you’ve gone at least one week without chest pain, coughing or any secondary infections.
Once you’re “through the woods”, it might be tempting to simply go back to your daily routine. Doctors, however, advise you to get periodic check-ups until all of the symptoms have completely vanished. The risk of secondary infections is high with pneumonia, so you’ll want to get follow-up chest X rays as well as a new round of antibiotics if the first one hasn’t entirely kicked it.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Because your immune system takes such a large hit from pneumonia, your body will need plenty of rest during the recovery process. Don’t force yourself to stay awake because you think you’re getting better. You might feel even more drowsy because of the antibiotics, but take the time to nap during the day and make sure you’re getting a minimum of eight hours’ sleep each night.
Take Antibiotics on a Schedule
Many antibiotics for pneumonia need to be taken at the same time every day. If you’re on a once-a-day pill, don’t take it at seven o’clock in the morning on Monday and then hold off until noon the next. This is the one thing for which you should interrupt your sleep. Set an alarm so that you wake up to take your medicine, then go back to sleep if you’re still tired.
Breathe Clean Air
Part of the problem with pneumonia is that your lungs are highly irritated. Breathing polluted air with lots of irritants will only make it worse and might increase the frequency and intensity of coughing fits. Avoid breathing air with cigarette smoke or other contaminants and use an air filter in your home if you own one. If you have to be outside in a highly polluted area, where a mask to protect your lungs.
Most people avoid humidity whenever possible, but it’s very healthy if you’re recovering from pneumonia. Purchase a humidifier to run during the night and take long, steamy showers and baths. It will help to soothe your chest and reduce your coughing fits.
Use Expectorants Rather than Cough Suppressants
I know that you’re tired of coughing, but suppressing your coughs will help you to stay sick longer. Your goal is to have productive coughs that expel germ-ridden phlegm. If your doctor suggests it, use an OTC or prescription expectorant to aid in the productivity of your coughs.
Avoid Sick People
As mentioned above, people with pneumonia are at a much higher risk for secondary infections. Avoid being around people who are sick, particularly if they have upper respiratory infections or even a simple cold. This can add to your recovery time and perhaps complicate your condition.