People above age 65 who suffer from pneumonia may require hospital admission and receive treatment involving intravenous administration of fluids and antibiotics, oxygen therapy and breathing support, notes MedlinePlus. Doctors immediately provide antibiotics when a pneumonia patient gets admitted. However, patients with viral pneumonia do not take antibiotics, as viruses are not affected by antibiotics.
If the doctor suggests home treatment, a patient with pneumonia should take the medications as instructed and avoid taking cough or cold medicines, because coughing helps eliminate mucus from the lungs, explains MedlinePlus. Doctors sometimes recommend breathing warm, damp air to soften thick, sticky mucus that causes a choking sensation.
Other useful home care methods include lightly pressing a warm, damp cloth over the nose and mouth; breathing in the mist from a humidifier filled with warm water; and taking deep breaths up to three times per hour, according to MedlinePlus. To cough out mucus more easily, it helps to tap the chest lightly several times daily when lying down with the head below chest level.
Pneumonia patients should also drink lots of water or juice and avoid alcoholic beverages, states MedlinePlus. Adequate rest is essential after going home from hospital admission. Those who find it hard to sleep at night may take naps at daytime. Proper treatment usually improves pneumonia within two weeks, but older people may require longer treatment.