Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

These tips can help you recover more quickly and decrease your risk of complications:

  • Get plenty of rest. Don't go back to school or work until after your temperature returns to normal and you stop coughing up mucus. Even when you start to feel better, be careful not to overdo it. Because pneumonia can recur, it's better not to jump back into your routine until you are fully recovered. Ask your doctor if you're not sure.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to help loosen mucus in your lungs.
  • Take your medicine as prescribed. Take the entire course of any medications your doctor prescribed for you. If you stop taking medication too soon, your lungs may continue to harbor bacteria that can multiply and cause your pneumonia to recur.

Prevention

To help prevent pneumonia:

  • Get vaccinated. Vaccines are available to prevent some types of pneumonia and the flu. Talk with your doctor about getting these shots. The vaccination guidelines have changed over time so make sure to review your vaccination status with your doctor even if you recall previously receiving a pneumonia vaccine.
  • Make sure children get vaccinated. Doctors recommend a different pneumonia vaccine for children younger than age 2 and for children ages 2 to 5 years who are at particular risk of pneumococcal disease. Children who attend a group child care center should also get the vaccine. Doctors also recommend flu shots for children older than 6 months.
  • Practice good hygiene. To protect yourself against respiratory infections that sometimes lead to pneumonia, wash your hands regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking damages your lungs' natural defenses against respiratory infections.
  • Keep your immune system strong. Get enough sleep, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.