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BMJ Group Medical Reference

Pneumonia needs to be taken seriously, even if you are young and physically fit. [6] Pneumonia can be especially dangerous if you are older or your general state of health is not good.

Here are some ways to help yourself make a full recovery from pneumonia.

  • Get plenty of rest and do not exert yourself by doing anything that is physically challenging.

  • If you have signs of being dehydrated, your doctor may advise you to drink more fluids. But you should always get advice from your doctor on how much fluid to drink.

  • If you are spending a lot of time in bed, make sure you turn over often. Turn over every hour while you are awake. Breathe deeply five to 10 times and then cough strongly a couple of times. This helps to clear any phlegm that is blocking the air sacs in your lungs.

  • Start to do more as you feel better. But don't push yourself too hard. Don't do anything that you don't feel well enough to do.

  • Make sure you finish taking all the antibiotics that your doctor has prescribed. Don't stop taking them just because you feel better. If you do, there is a danger that not all the germs will be killed off. And those that are left can start to multiply again. If you don't finish taking all of your antibiotics, it might also lead to the drugs becoming less effective against the bacteria. Doctors call this problem antibiotic resistance. To learn more about how drugs become less effective against germs, see Resistance to antibiotics.

  • Call your doctor if you start to feel ill again. You may need a check-up to make sure the infection isn't coming back.

  • Don't miss your follow-up appointments. This can help you be sure that you've made a full recovery.

  • Don't smoke. [25] If you're a smoker, you should give up smoking to reduce your risk of getting pneumonia again. Smoking damages your lungs and makes it more likely that you will get an infection.

For more information about your lungs and how they work, see What is pneumonia?



These medicines are used to help your immune system fight infection. There are a number of different types of antibiotics that work in different ways to get rid of bacteria, parasites, and other infectious agents. Antibiotics do not work against viruses.


Bacteria are tiny organisms. There are lots of different types. Some are harmful and can cause disease. But some bacteria live in your body without causing any harm.


When you're dehydrated, you don't have enough fluid in your blood. This could be because you're not drinking enough or because you're losing water by sweating or having diarrhoea.


You get an infection when bacteria, a fungus, or a virus get into a part of your body where it shouldn't be. For example, an infection in your nose and airways causes the common cold. An infection in your skin can cause rashes such as athlete's foot. The organisms that cause infections are so tiny that you can't see them without a microscope.

For more terms related to Pneumonia


For references related to Pneumonia click here.
Last Updated: August 22, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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