When should I go to the hospital for pneumonia treatment?

This happens when pneumonia symptoms are severe because the lungs are unable to work properly. Someone with severe pneumonia may have to be treated in a special hospital ward called the intensive care unit (ICU). The ICU has machines that help with breathing while the lungs are recovering.

This is a very important question this time of year, given the abundance of respiratory illnesses during winter months. No matter the age of the patient, healthcare providers will look at various things when deciding whether to admit someone with fever and cough who has pneumonia on exam or xray.

If a patient has significant difficulty breathing, requires oxygen, or is wheezing and not responding to medicines given in a clinic or prescribed for home, or if a patient is vomiting or can't drink enough to stay hydrated or take medicines by mouth, hospitalization would be in order.

Also, providers may quickly hospitalize the very young, very old, very sick, or those who are chronically ill (especially patients with heart or lung disease or those with diabetes or immune system problems).

Finally, it a patient "fails" home treatment for pneumonia (continued fever or breathing difficulty despite an antibiotic or other medicine given in clinic or prescribed for home), hospitalization will likely be recommended by a provider.

One thing to remember about pneumonia is that the cough may be the last thing to clear up and may linger for a couple of weeks. Most of the time, if your fever, breathing difficulty, and other symptoms are improving or have resolved, you are well on your way to recovery and probably don't need to see your provider again for the problem, unless he or she recommends it.

Continue Learning about Pneumonia

What You Need to Know About Pneumonia
What You Need to Know About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be caused by many different types of germs, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. One way to catch pneumonia i...
Read More
Is pneumonia deadly?
Celeste Robb-NicholsonCeleste Robb-Nicholson
Although influenza shouldn't be shrugged off -- it still kills a few hundred women annually -- pneum...
More Answers
How is pneumonia treated?
Sigma NursingSigma Nursing
Treatment options for pneumonia depend on what sort you have. For most people, pneumonia can be trea...
More Answers
How to Prevent Pneumonia
How to Prevent Pneumonia

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.