Other Treatments for Pneumonia
The first decision to be made is whether or not you need hospitalization. Your doctor will look at these factors to make this decision:
- How severely ill you are
- Whether you have other medical conditions
- Your age, and therefore your overall risk of developing complications (the very young and the very old are most at risk)
- Whether you are on medications that weaken your immune system
- Whether your blood oxygen is dangerously low
- Whether the type of organisms that are infecting you might best be treated with intravenous medication, rather than by medicines given by mouth
For Managing Low Blood Oxygen
If pulse oximeter or arterial blood gas testing reveals that you have low blood oxygen or other abnormalities of the gases in your blood, then you may need supplemental oxygen. Oxygen can be given to you through small tubes that blow the oxygen into your nostrils (nasal cannula) or through an oxygen mask.
If you are severely ill and cannot get enough oxygen on your own, your healthcare provider may decide that you need to be put on a mechanical ventilator until your lungs have a chance to heal.
Postural draining, chest percussion, and deep breathing exercises can help improve oxygenation by clearing the secretions from the upper respiratory tract and preventing collapsed lung, especially in postoperative or debilitated patients.
American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=22542 . Accessed July 17, 2008.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/ . Accessed July 17, 2008.
Primary Care Medicine. 4th ed. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2000.
Jolliet P, Bulpa P, Chevrolet JC. Effects of the prone position on gas exchange and hemodynamics in severe acute respiratory distress syndrome. Crit Care Med. 1998;26:1977-1985.
Last reviewed July 2008 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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