Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Pneumonia due to a Virus Home Care

Home care for viral pneumonia includes:


Home care for chest wall pain includes:
  • Apply cold compresses:
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours, for the first few days.
  • After several days, apply warm compresses:
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 4 hours.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
  • Perform deep breathing exercises:
    • Perform the exercises every 4 hours
  • Rest the chest:
    • Do not lift heavy objects.

Pneumonia due to a Virus Cough in Adults

Home treatment of a cough in adults with viral pneumonia includes:

  • Avoid respiratory irritants, such as pollution, pollen, mold, dust and chemical fumes
  • Change A/C and furnace filters regularly.
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid exposure to secondary smoke
  • Drink warm liquids to relieve coughing spasms.
  • Raise the head of your bed at night and sleep on your left side: this minimizes acid reflux.
  • Use throat lozenges.
  • Place a vaporizer or nebulizer in the bedroom at night.

Cough medications:

Cough medication precautions:

Pneumonia due to a Virus Cough in Children

Home treatment of a cough in children with viral pneumonia includes:

  • Avoid respiratory irritants, such as pollution, pollen, mold, dust and chemical fumes
  • Change A/C and furnace filters regularly.
  • Avoid exposure to secondary smoke.
  • Drink warm liquids to relieve coughing spasms.
  • Use throat lozenges, but do not use them in children under 5 years of age.
  • Place a vaporizer or nebulizer in the bedroom at night.

Cough medicines:

Dosing Dextromethorphan
Childs WeightDextromethorphan Dose
22 lb (10 kg)5 mg every 8 hrs
33 lb (15 kg)7.5 mg every 8 hrs
44 lb (20 kg)10 mg every 8 hrs
55 lb (25 kg)12.5 mg every 8 hrs
66 lb (30 kg)15 mg every 8 hrs
88 lb (40 kg)20 mg every 8 hrs
110 lb (50 kg)25 mg every 8 hrs
132 lb-adult (60 kg)30 mg every 8 hrs

Cough medication precautions:

Pneumonia due to a Virus Pain and Fever Adults

Medications commonly used to control pain and fever in adults with viral pneumonia include:


Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.

Aspirin

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Ketoprofen

NSAID Precautions

Pneumonia due to a Virus Pain and Fever Children

Common medications used at home for pain and fever in children with viral pneumonia include:


Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Pneumonia due to a Virus Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have viral pneumonia and any of the following:

Pneumonia due to a Virus Wheezing

Home care for mild wheezing due to viral pneumonia includes:

  • Avoid exposure to smoke.
  • Avoid cough medicine.
  • Avoid sedative medications.
  • Avoid substances that trigger wheezing.
  • Drink plenty of liquids to remain hydrated.
  • Place a vaporizer or nebulizer in the bedroom at night.

Home care for those who take medication for wheezing includes:
  • Follow asthma home care instructions.
  • Learn to use prescribed inhalers correctly.
  • Use short-acting inhalers every 20 minutes, or as directed by your doctor.
  • Long-acting medications must be used regularly.
  • Learn to use a peak flow meter.
  • Know the peak flow danger zones.
  • Develop a strategy for using your inhaler based on your PEFR reading
  • Stay calm during a wheezing attack.

Peak Flow Zones:
  • Green Zone: a PEFR that is 80-100% of personal best represents good control
  • Yellow Zone: a PEFR that is 50-80% of personal best represents a moderate attack
  • Red Zone: a PEFR that is less than 50% of personal best represents a severe attack and may identify the need for treatment in an emergency department

Continue to Pneumonia due to a Virus Prevention

Last Updated: Jan 7, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Pneumonia due to a Virus References
  1. Cheng VC, Tang BS, Wu AK, Chu CM, Yuen KY. Medical treatment of viral pneumonia including SARS in immunocompetent adult. J Infect. 2004 Nov;49(4):262-73. [15474623]
  2. de Roux A, Marcos MA, Garcia E, Mensa J, Ewig S, Lode H, Torres A. Viral community-acquired pneumonia in nonimmunocompromised adults. Chest. 2004 Apr;125(4):1343-51. [15078744]
  3. Pugh RN, Omar RI, Hossain MM. Varicella infection and pneumonia among adults. Int J Infect Dis. 1998 Apr-Jun;2(4):205-10. [9763503]
  4. Virkki R, Juven T, Rikalainen H, Svedstrom E, Mertsola J, Ruuskanen O. Differentiation of bacterial and viral pneumonia in children. Thorax. 2002 May;57(5):438-41. [11978922]
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