Pneumonia is an infection that occurs in one or both lungs. Symptoms, including a cough with phlegm, are caused when air sacs fill with fluid or pus. Pneumonia is more serious in children and adults over the age of 65. An ordinary case of pneumonia can take up to three days to subside, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. While there's no official diet for this type for lung infection, eating certain foods can ease or even aggravate symptoms.
The most common symptoms of pneumonia, according to the Mayo Clinic, include fever, cough, shortness of breath, body temperature fluctuations, breathing-induced chest pain, headache, muscle pain, fatigue and mucus in the lungs. Older people often experience lower than normal body temperature.
The Mayo Clinic suggests drinking plenty of fluids, specifically water, to loosen mucus in your lungs. Drinking will also prevent dehydration, which causes headaches. A dehydrated atmosphere is also a good place for viruses and bacteria to multiply, according to Wendy Hodsdon, a Portland, Oregon-based neuropathic doctor. Water also helps flush out toxins.
What to Feed a Fever
People with a fever typically aren't hungry, according to Hodsdon. A fever is the result of the body working to kill a virus or bacterial infection. When your temperature rises, enzymes in cells can work faster. Not eating, along with drinking lots of water, actually helps your body fight the infection more efficiently. Loss of appetite during a fever may be your body's way of signaling that it doesn't need food. You should also reduce your sugar intake, which can hasten the white blood cell's ability to kill bacteria. As soon as your fever subsides, your appetite should return.
Probiotics could prevent pneumonia-causing bacteria from multiplying. In 2008, the BBC News reported that Swedish patients at risk of developing pneumonia reacted better when given probiotics compared to those patients who were administered normal antiseptics. Probiotics are a type of bacteria naturally present in fermented foods like pickles and yogurt. Even if probiotics do not have any effect on your symptoms, foods containing the active cultures have been linked to preventing side effects from antibiotics, which are often prescribed for the treatment of pneumonia. According to "The New York Times," foods with active acidophilus cultures can help restore healthy bacteria in the gut.
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: What is Pneumonia?; March 2011
- The Diet Channel: Sick with Fever: What Should You Eat?; Wendy Hodsdon, ND
- BBC News: Probiotics May Stop Pneumonia; November 2008
- "The New York Times"; Pneumonia Medications; April 2008
- MayoClinic.com: Pneumonia: Lifestyle and Home Remedies; May 2011