Home remedies can’t treat pneumonia, but they can help you effectively manage its symptoms.
If you’re coughing
If you’re short of breath
If you have chest pain
If you have a fever
If you have chills
Stick to your treatment plan
Seeing a doctor
They aren’t a replacement for your doctor-approved treatment plan, though. It’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations while using these complementary therapies.
Learn how you can use home remedies to relieve your cough, chest pain, and more. If your symptoms get worse or don’t improve despite treatment, seek medical advice.
Quick info on pneumonia
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a lung infection, and it can develop in one or both lungs.
The air sacs fill with pus and/or fluid, making breathing difficult. The infection may be mild but can be life threatening in its most severe form.
Causes and symptoms
Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can cause pneumonia, with bacteria most commonly triggering this lung infection. Bacterial pneumonia can happen on its own or as a complication of viral infections like flu or COVID-19.
Common bacteria behind pneumonia include:
Common viruses that trigger pneumonia include:
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
Some viruses that cause cold and flu
SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19
chest pain while breathing or coughing
COVID-19 and pneumonia
People who acquire SARS-CoV-2 might develop pneumonia as a severe complication. Mostly, COVID-19 will cause a fever and a dry cough, and it does not progress to pneumonia-like symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staying homeTrusted Source until symptoms have passed if you have mild COVID.
It’s vital to seek medical assistance if symptoms get worse. If you feel chest pain and breathing difficulties after a COVID-19 diagnosis, call a healthcare professional.
A study from 2020Trusted Source found that people at particular risk of life threatening COVID-19 pneumonia include:
those who are 65 years or older
people with a history or cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease
low levels of CD3+CD8+ T-cells, showing a possible link between COVID and the immune system
high levels of cardiac troponins, a protein that indicates heart injury
If noninvasive treatments like medication don’t stop the progression of COVID-19 pneumonia, you might need to go to the hospital, and mechanical ventilation may be necessary.
You may develop a cough at the onset of your pneumonia. It can come on within the first 24 hours, or it might develop over the course of a few days.
Coughing helps to rid your body of the infection by removing fluid from your lungs, so you don’t want to stop coughing completely. But you may want to reduce how much you cough so that it doesn’t interfere with your rest or cause further pain and irritation.
Your cough may continue for some time during and after your recovery, and can sometimes even be present for monthsTrusted Source after infection.
1. Try a saltwater gargle
Gargling with salt water can help remove some of the mucus in your throat and relieve irritation.
How to do a saltwater gargle
To do this:
Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt into a glass of warm water.
Gargle the mixture with your head raised, looking at the ceiling.
Spit it out.
Repeat at least three times each day.
2. Drink hot peppermint tea
Peppermint can also help alleviate irritation and expel mucus. Research suggests that it can be an effective decongestant, anti-inflammatory, and painkiller.
If you don’t already have peppermint tea, you can pick up loose or bagged teas at your local grocery or online. And if you have fresh peppermint, you can easily make your own tea.
How to make fresh peppermint tea
To make peppermint tea from scratch:
Wash and cut fresh mint leaves and place them in a cup or teapot.
Add boiling water and steep for about 5 minutes.
Strain and serve with lemon, honey, or milk.
You may wish to deeply inhale the aroma of the peppermint tea while the tea is steeping. This might help clear your nasal pathways.
For shortness of breath
With pneumonia, your breathing may suddenly become rapid and shallow, or this symptom could develop gradually over the course of a few days.
You may even experience breathlessness while you’re resting. Your doctor may prescribe medication or inhalers to help. Even as you try the suggestions below, make sure you keep up with your physician’s instructions and dosages.
If the following suggestions don’t help and your breath becomes even shorter, seek immediate medical care.
3. Use a handheld fan
While the evidence is thin, a 2021 reviewTrusted Source suggests that passing a handheld fan across the face may temporarily relieve breathlessness in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
While the underlying cause of breathing difficulties is different in people with pneumonia, you might find that using a fan makes it easier to catch your breath.
You can use a handheld fan until your symptoms subside.
4. Drink a cup of coffee
Drinking a cup of coffee may also help relieve shortness of breath. Caffeine may help widen the airways, and a 2021 reviewTrusted Source even suggested that consuming it could help soothe some COVID-19 symptoms and work against SARS-CoV-2.
Caffeine’s half-life is 3-5 hours, meaning that your body gets rid of half the caffeine content in this time. If caffeine helps to widen your airways, this is the amount of time it’s likely to have its most noticeable effects.
For chest pain
Chest pain may come on suddenly or over the course of several days. You should expect some chest pain or ache if you get pneumonia. With treatment, any chest pain typically subsides within 4 weeks.
5. Drink a cup of turmeric tea
A 2020 reviewTrusted Source suggests that a compound called curcumin in turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial qualities that can help your body defend itself against pneumonia.
Another review from 2018 supported curcumin’s activity against pain, meaning that it might provide some relief for pneumonia’s sometimes intense chest pain (even though the research didn’t focus on chest pain directly).
You can buy turmeric tea at your local grocery or online. You can also make your own tea using turmeric powder.
6. Drink a cup of ginger tea
Ginger has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties in recent researchTrusted Source. As with turmeric, current research on ginger hasn’t looked at whether it helps specifically with chest pain, but it’s a harmless, hydrating way to try and soothe the uncomfortable effects of pneumonia.
You can find loose or bagged ginger teas at your local grocery or online. Or, you can use raw ginger to make your own ginger tea.