Captivate Research


How is it treated?

The goal is to cure the infection and prevent complications and most people are treated at home.

Specific treatments depend on the type and severity of the pneumonia, age, and overall health.

Most people are treated at home with:

  • Antibiotics – if it is a bacterial pneumonia,
  • Anti-viral agents for specific viral pneumonia,
  • Cough medicine – to help calm the cough,
  • Drugs to reduce fever,
  • Drugs to decrease pain.

Adults may be hospitalized if they:

  • Are older than age 65,
  • Have oxygen levels so low that oxygen is required,
  • Confusion and disorientation about time, people or places,
  • Kidney function has declined,
  • Blood pressure is too low,
  • Severe difficulty breathing,
  • Temperature is below normal,
  • Heart rate that is too low or too high.

Children may be hospitalized if they:

  • Are aged less than age 2 months,
  • Lethargic or excessively sleepy,
  • Have trouble breathing,
  • Have low blood oxygen levels,
  • Have signs of dehydration.

Hospitalized pneumonia patients may be treated with:

  • Antibiotics,
  • Oxygen,
  • Corticosteroids.

Some people may go to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) because of:

  • Very low oxygen levels: A tube is placed in their throat so that breathing can be assisted with a ventilator.
  • Very low blood pressure: Drugs are added to increase blood pressure.
  • Very severe kidney problems: Dialysis is added to care to improve kidney function.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why aren’t vaccines and antibiotics effective to prevent pneumonia from getting worse?

Treatment of pneumonia is complicated including selection of the right antibiotic because often the “bug” that causes pneumonia in a specific case is not diagnosed. Therefore, our goal is to discover better tools to diagnose the “bug” that is causing pneumonia so pneumonia can be treated with the right antibiotic or antiviral agent.

What are we doing to discover new treatments?

We are identifying risk factors, doing research blood tests, and searching for new vaccines and non-antibiotic drugs to prevent and treat pneumonia.

Treatment of Pneumonia: Case Study

"A 25-year-old stay at home dad develops sore throat, cough, and fever. He goes to his family doctor and is prescribed and takes the appropriate antibiotics. However, two days later, he develops increasing cough and shortness of breath, goes to his local emergency room and has to be admitted. He is treated urgently with antibiotics and oxygen but becomes critically ill and is taken to the ICU because he needs to be put on a ventilator. Despite adding all appropriate intensive care including drugs to raise blood pressure and kidney dialysis, his condition continues to deteriorate and dies after four days. How does a young man die of pneumonia in a modern ICU? This case led members of our team to pursue studies of genetics of pneumonia and led to the discovery of novel drugs that could be used to treat pneumonia"