Can pneumonia go away on its own?
Yes, pneumonia can go away on its own, but only when it is considered mild.
Walking pneumonia refers to a case of pneumonia that is so mild that you can go about day-to-day activities throughout the course of the illness. It can feel like a very bad cold and may go away with self-care, but your doctor can help you decide if you need additional treatment.
Pneumonia is a lung infection that occurs when the air sacs (alveoli) in your lungs become inflamed. Symptoms may include:
- Cough (that produces phlegm or mucus)
- Difficulty breathing and/or chest pain
- Nausea or vomiting
Pneumonia can be caused by a bacteria, virus or fungi. For some people, it can take up to a month to recover from pneumonia, while others rebound much faster, sometimes within 3 to 5 days. The cough, however, can last for weeks or months even after treatment. A lot of this depends on the cause and severity of the pneumonia, along with your general health status and age.
Viral pneumonia is often treated with rest and over-the-counter medications. Sometimes an antiviral medication is needed.
Bacterial pneumonia requires a course of antibiotics.
In general, managing symptoms is key for all types of pneumonia. This includes:
- Taking medication to reduce fever
- Staying hydrated to break up phlegm
- Drinking warm beverages or using a humidifier to help open airways and ease breathing.
Severe cases of pneumonia may require hospitalization, intravenous fluids, antibiotics and oxygen therapy.
- American Lung Association. What Is Walking Pneumonia? February 22, 2017. Available at: https://www.lung.org/blog/what-is-walking-pneumonia. [Accessed September 6, 2021].
- U.S. National Library of Medicine MedlinePlus. Pneumonia. August 24, 2021. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/pneumonia.html. [Accessed September 6, 2021].
- American Lung Association. Pneumonia Treatment and Recovery. August 16, 2021. Available at: https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pneumonia/treatment-and-recovery. [Accessed September 6, 2021].
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