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Caring for Those with Pneumonia


When someone has pneumonia, they usually feel very sick. Common symptoms of pneumonia can include:

  • Fever, with or without chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing with mucus
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Heavy sweating
  • Mental confusion

When to Call the Doctor

Contact a doctor if you see that someone has any of the symptoms listed above. In most cases, immediate treatment is necessary to avoid serious complications.

After seeking medical care, you should also call the doctor if:

  • Chest pain does not get better
  • Shortness of breath gets worse
  • Fingernails, toenails, or skin become dark or turn bluish
  • Blood comes out of the mouth while coughing


Treatment for pneumonia involves curing the infection and preventing complications. The type of treatment prescribed for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia present, as well as how severe it is. In many cases, pneumonia can be treated at home.

The following measures can help with recovery and avoid complications:

  • The doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral drugs to help treat the disease. All prescription drugs should be taken as directed.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Consider taking acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or aspirin to help reduce fever. Read and make sure you understand all medication labels before giving them.

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