Regaining Lung Function after Pneumonia
The flu virus is relatively common, affecting 8 percent of Americans each year. Many people can fight the flu with rest and fluids, but there are certain groups that have a higher risk for secondary infections like pneumonia.
Typically, flu season ends in April, but it’s not uncommon to see cases linger into May. This is why it’s important to continue practicing healthy habits in the spring, such as by washing your hands, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and seeing your doctor at the first sign of symptoms.
But, what happens if the flu turns into a case of pneumonia, despite your best efforts? Pneumonia can be difficult to get rid of, especially if you have heart or lung problems. Here are some tips to help you regain lung function after pneumonia.
Leaving the Hospital
You will be discharged from the hospital once your temperature, breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen levels are normal. You probably won’t feel 100 percent, but you are okay to go home. You should continue resting and getting plenty of fluids in the following weeks and months.
However, it’s possible that your lung function won’t be the same after having pneumonia. This serious infection can damage lung tissue that prevents the lungs from fully expanding, as well as decreases the amount of oxygen getting in. This is why you may feel tired and short of breath. If you have underlying health problems, this can further complicate your recovery.
Tips for Regaining Lung Function
To help you restore healthy lung function, here are some things to try. Of course, talk to your doctor before starting any new regimens, as your body is still in a delicate state.
- Practice “belly breathing” exercises
- Practice pursed-lips breathing techniques
- Quit smoking, if you smoke
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants
- Get your vaccinations
- Exercise more frequently
- Improve indoor air quality
Preventing Reinfection of Pneumonia
To prevent reinfection, continue practicing healthy habits like washing your hands regularly, eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and getting enough rest at night. If you smoke, now is the time to stop. It can significantly improve your quality of life and overall lifespan.
Additionally, stay away from people who are sick when possible. And, if you find yourself experiencing symptoms of a new illness, see your doctor right away. He or she can take a proactive approach to prevent a secondary infection.
To learn more about regaining lung function after pneumonia, check out these informative videos from Doctor’s Choice.