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10 Home Remedies for Pneumonia Symptoms

What you can do

Home remedies can’t treat pneumonia, but they can be used to effectively manage its symptoms. They aren’t a replacement for your doctor-approved treatment plan, though. You should continue to follow your doctor’s recommendations while using these complementary therapies.

Read on to learn how you can use home remedies to relieve your cough, chest pain, and more. If your symptoms worsen or persist beyond your projected outlook, see your doctor.

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If you’re coughing

If you’re coughing

You may develop a cough at the onset of your pneumonia. It may come on within the first 24 hours, or it may develop over the course of a few days.

Coughing helps to rid your body of the infection by removing fluid from your lungs, so you don’t want to stop coughing completely. But you do want to bring your coughing down so that it doesn’t interfere with your rest or cause further pain and irritation.

Your cough may persist for some time during and after your recovery. It should subside significantly after about six weeks.

Do a saltwater gargle

Gargling with salt water — or even just water — can help get rid of some of the mucus in your throat and relieve irritation.

To do this:

  1. Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water.
  2. Gargle the mixture for 30 seconds, and spit it out.
  3. Repeat at least three times each day.

Drink hot peppermint tea

Peppermint can also help alleviate irritation and expel mucus. That’s because it’s a proven decongestant, anti-inflammatory, and painkiller.

If you don’t already have peppermint tea, you can pick up loose or bagged teas at your local grocery or online. And if you have fresh peppermint, you can easily make your own tea using any type of mint.

To make fresh tea:

  1. Wash and cut fresh mint leaves and place them in a cup or teapot.
  2. Add boiling water and steep for about five minutes.
  3. Strain and serve with lemon, honey, or milk.

You may wish to deeply inhale the aroma of the peppermint tea while the tea is steeping. This can help clear your nasal pathways.

If you have a fever

If you have a fever

Your fever may develop suddenly or over the course of a few days. With treatment, it should subside within the week.

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil), can help to reduce your fever and alleviate pain.

If you can, take any pain relievers with food or on a full stomach. This helps reduce your risk of side effects, such as nausea.

Adults can typically take one or two 200 milligram (mg) capsules every four to six hours. You shouldn’t exceed 1,200 mg per day.

For children, follow the directions on the packaging.

Apply a lukewarm compress

You can also use a lukewarm compress to help cool your body from the outside in. Although it may be tempting to use a cold compress, the sudden temperature change can cause chills. A lukewarm compress provides a more gradual temperature change.

To make a compress:

  1. Wet a small towel or washcloth with lukewarm water.
  2. Wring out the excess water and place the compress on your forehead.
  3. Repeat as often as you’d like.
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If you have chills

If you have chills

Chills may come on before or during a fever. They typically subside after your fever breaks. This may last up to a week, depending on when you began treatment.

Drink warm water

If peppermint tea isn’t your thing, a glass of warm water will do. This can help you stay hydrated and warm you internally. Make extra effort to get in fluids.

Have a bowl of soup

Not only is a hot bowl of soup nourishing, it can also help to replenish vital liquids while it warms from the inside out.

If you’re short of breath

If you’re short of breath

With pneumonia, your breathing may suddenly become rapid and shallow, or this could develop gradually over the course of a few days. You may even experience breathlessness while you’re resting. Your doctor may have prescribed medication or inhalers to help. If the following suggestions don’t help and your breath becomes even shorter, seek immediate medical care.

Sit in front of a fan

A study from 2010 found that using a handheld fan can reduce breathlessness. Volunteers directed the fan across the nose and mouth, which produced a cooling sensation in the face. They did this for five minutes at a time, alternating between directing the fan toward their legs. You can use a handheld fan until your symptoms subside.

Drink a cup of coffee

Drinking a cup of coffee may also help relieve shortness of breath. This is because caffeine is similar to a bronchodilator drug called theophylline. They can both be used to open up the airways in your lungs, which can help to relieve your symptoms. Caffeine’s effects may last for up to four hours.

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If you have chest pain

If you have chest pain

Chest pain may come on suddenly or over the course of several days. Some chest pain or ache is expected with pneumonia. With treatment, chest pain typically subsides within four weeks.

Drink a cup of turmeric tea

Turmeric has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help in pain relief. Although existing research is on other forms of pain, it’s thought that its effects could extend to chest pain. Turmeric also has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

You can buy turmeric tea bags at your local grocery or online. You can also make your own tea using turmeric powder.

To make fresh tea:

  1. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to a few cups of boiling water.
  2. Reduce the heat and slowly simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain and serve with honey and lemon.
  4. Add a pinch of black pepper for increased absorption.
  5. Drink as often as you’d like.

Drink a cup of ginger tea

Ginger has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that make it useful in reducing pain. As with turmeric, current research on ginger hasn’t looked at its efficacy for chest pain, but its pain-relieving effects are thought to apply here.

You can find loose or bagged ginger teas at your local grocery or online. You can use raw ginger to make your own ginger tea.

To make fresh tea:

  1. Cut or grate a few pieces of fresh ginger and add it to a pot of boiling water.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Strain and serve with honey and lemon.
  4. Drink as often as you’d like.
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Stick to your treatment plan

Stick to your treatment plan

The typical pneumonia treatment plan consists of rest, antibiotics, and increased fluid intake. You should take it easy even if your symptoms begin to subside.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication instead of an antibiotic.

You should take the entire course of medication even after you begin seeing improvement. If you don’t see improvement within three days, see your doctor.

You should:
  1. Drink at least 8 cups of water or liquid per day. Liquids help to thin mucous and keep your fever down.
  2. Make sure to get enough rest. Your body needs extra time to recuperate and heal properly. Adequate rest can also help to prevent relapse.
  3. Follow a healthy diet plan that’s balanced to include all food groups. During recovery, it’s recommended that you eat six smaller meals daily instead of three larger ones.
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Outlook

Outlook

Your pneumonia should start to improve steadily once you begin treatment. Pneumonia is serious and may require hospitalization. In most cases, it takes about six months before you feel fully recovered.

After your initial diagnosis, it’s important to pace yourself and allow your body time to heal. Eating well and getting plenty of rest are key.

After you’ve had pneumonia once, you’re more likely to experience it again. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to improve your overall health and reduce your overall risk as much as possible.

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