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Q.

How long after finishing antibiotics for pneumonia should it take to feel better?

I finished the antibiotics for pneumonia 5 weeks ago and I am still having chest pain and tightness. I had a repeat chest X-ray 2 weeks ago and it was clear.  I am currently on Flovent (2x a day) and  ventolin as needed (averaging 3-4x a day) to help with these symptoms but I feel like I haven't improved since I finished the antibiotics. 

 

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

General Medicine
Nursing
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A.
I'm sorry to hear you're going through this. It sounds very uncomfortable.

It's true that antibiotics continue working for some time after you take the last dose. The length of time they keep working depends on the exact type of antibiotic.

However, at five weeks post-antibiotics, you can rest assured they have long since exited your system. And it's very good news that a chest X-ray showed your lungs are clear of fluid.

As you probably know, pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. This is usually caused by a virus, though it can also be caused by bacteria.

The problem with either type of pneumonia is that it inflames and irritates your delicate lung tissue. And this irritation can linger even after the infection is gone.

This probably explains why you continue to feel symptoms even though you no longer have pneumonia, per se. I would suggest you continue to follow up regularly with the doctor who treated you. He or she should be able to better explain the factors that may be continuing to cause you discomfort. You deserve an explanation, and your doctor is the person in the best position to tell you.

Wishing you well!

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