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Viral Pneumonia (cont.)

Viral Pneumonia Treatment

Patient Comments

If you are diagnosed with a viral pneumonia, an antibiotic will not help you get better faster. Antibiotics work only on illnesses caused by bacteria. Your best treatment is to rest and keep yourself hydrated. But there are some bacteria that do not behave like standard bacteria when they cause pneumonia. These are referred to as atypical infections with organisms like Mycoplasma, Legionella, and Chlamydia. These infections do respond to antibiotics so if your physician is not certain if your infection is viral, an antibiotic may be prescribed to cover these atypical organisms.

  • If your doctor suspects your pneumonia is caused by an influenza virus, you may get a prescription for an anti-flu medicine. It must be started within 36 hours of the beginning of symptoms to be effective. Four drugs are available: Amantadine (Symadine, Symmetrel), rimantadine (Flumadine), and oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are pills or capsules. Zanamivir (Relenza) is a powder that you inhale directly into your lungs.
  • Varicella pneumonia is almost always serious enough to need treatment with acyclovir (Zovirax) or a similar antibiotic. You can take this drug by mouth or, if you are severely ill and in the hospital, by IV.
  • Respiratory syncytial virus usually needs just treatment of the symptoms. If you are sick enough to be in the hospital, you might be treated with ribavirin (Rebetol).
  • Treatment of adenovirus and parainfluenza virus pneumonia is also just to relieve symptoms.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/6/2014

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Viral Pneumonia:

Viral Pneumonia - Symptoms

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Pneumonia, Viral »

Viral respiratory tract infections are the most common cause of symptomatic human disease among children and adults.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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