Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Pneumonia treatments

2-minute read

The treatment will depend on whether the pneumonia is caused by bacteria or a virus.

If the cause is infection by bacteria, the main treatment is antibiotics. In milder cases, these can be taken by mouth. In more severe cases, they’ll need to be taken by injection, at least at first. They are usually given at the first sign of pneumonia, before it’s clear whether the pneumonia is caused by a virus or bacteria.

Viral pneumonia cannot be treated with antibiotics.

Most people who have pneumonia will be able to stay home. Discuss with your doctor when to return for follow up but if you haven’t improved at all within the first 5 days of starting on antibiotics or your symptoms get worse, go back to the doctor. Sometimes you may need a change in the dose or type of antibiotic or even need more than one medicine.

Some people will need to be in hospital. This is more common for people who are very old, very young or who have other illnesses. A person in hospital for pneumonia may need oxygen therapy, or other more intense forms of treatment.

Getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids and taking paracetamolfor the fever are also important. Some people may also need physiotherapy to help clear their lungs.

Cough medicine is not recommended for people with pneumonia. Coughing can help move mucous plugs from the tubes and help clear the infection.

People with pneumonia should quit smoking and keep well away from things that will irritate their lungs, such as smoke. Drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest to help you recover.

Last reviewed: September 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Pneumonia symptoms and treatment information video | myVMC

Pneumonia is a serious lung infection. Pneumonia symptoms include fever and cough. Pneumonia treatment is with antibiotics.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a serious lung infection caused by a virus or bacteria.

Read more on WA Health website

Pneumonia: diagnosis and treatment - myDr.com.au

Fit, young people usually recover fairly quickly from pneumonia in a week or 2. However, many people feel more tired than usual for several weeks after having pneumonia.

Read more on myDr website

Pneumonia in children - myDr.com.au

Find out the symptoms of pneumonia in children, as well as common causes and treatment.

Read more on myDr website

Legionnaire's disease (Legionella infection) information | myVMC

Legionnaires disease is a type of bacterial pneumonia or severe lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria. It can be treated with antibiotics.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Pneumonia | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

What is pneumonia? Pneumonia is inflammation or infection of one or both lungs caused by viruses or bacteria

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Pneumonia symptoms - myDr.com.au

The symptoms of pneumonia usually depend on the cause of the pneumonia, but some symptoms are common, such as dry or productive cough, chest pain, fever or chills and breathlessness.

Read more on myDr website

Pneumonia in children and teenagers | Raising Children Network

Pneumonia is a lung infection. The symptoms of pneumonia in children include breathing changes, fever, a moist cough, increased irritability and tiredness.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal disease Streptococcus pneumoniae infections in people with diabetes are associated with increased mortality and morbidity

Read more on Diabetes Australia website

Immunisation Coalition | Pneumococcal Disease - Immunisation Coalition

The bacteria that causes Pneumococcal disease lives in the throats of healthy people and can cause serious illness such as pneumonia, otitis media and meningitis.

Read more on Immunisation Coalition website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo