Pneumonia is a medical condition that affects your lungs. It may lead to accumulation of pus or fluids in lungs. As a result, you are likely to witness breathing problems as well as frequent spells of coughing. It can be near-fatal among elderly people as well as infants or children. You may experience pains in your chest, weakness or tiredness. If left untreated, this lung condition can lead to a few serious ailments. Your treating doctor may prescribe antibiotics to stop the spread of bacterial infections. But, can you use doxycycline for treating pneumonia? It is important to know more about this prior to commencing your medication plan.

Microbial germs are a leading cause for pneumonia. When airborne microbes get into your respiratory tract, this condition is likely to arise. Infants aged less than one or two years old are more vulnerable; similarly, elders aged above 60 years are more likely to get affected. Vaccines are widely administered to prevent likely onset of this ailment. You are advised to adhere to good hygienic practices such as use of a hand sanitizer, washing your hands regularly, etc. It is highly recommended to keep your immunity levels high by getting adequate sleep, working out regularly as well as consuming a balanced diet. Last but not least, keep away from smoking and also maintain safe distance from smokers (second hand smoke can be equally dangerous).

Doxycycline for the treatment of pneumonia

Pneumonia can be treated with antibiotic medications, especially for bacteria-induced infections in the lungs. In this realm, drugs such as doxycycline are widely prescribed. However, if your lung condition is due to a viral or fungal infection, this drug is of very limited use. You are hence advised to use this drug as per the instructions of your treating doctor. It is equally important to remember that this is not an over the counter (OTC) med; hence, its procurement needs to be accompanied by the prescription of a qualified medical practitioner.

Doxycycline is taken orally – i.e., swallowed with 7 ounces of water. In some users, this may cause upset of the tummy; in such instances, you can take it along with milk or with a meal. No two people with pneumonia are administered with the same dosage plan. Your plan depends on your age, body weight, intensity of your lung condition, prior ailments as well as intake of other drugs, if any. The typical dose for adults is 100 mg as a single dose within a 24-hour timeline. Based on the severity of the medical condition, dosages of doxycycline may be increased to two times per day. In case of children weighing more than 50 kilograms (kg), the maintenance dose is 50 mg each day. However, for very young children – especially those weighing less than 40 kg, the dose never exceeds beyond 2.2 mg per kg of weight.

Care to store doxycycline in a closed box, kept at an ambient temperature. Keep it away from your bathrooms as the moisture there can reduce the efficacy of this drug. You must never bite the delayed release variant; biting or crushing this variant can be an extremely unsafe practice. Such practices can make the active ingredients get directly into your system. This antibiotic medication works well if taken before a meal. So, the right time to consume it is an hour before food. Those who forgot to consume it before having a meal may consider taking it two hours after taking food. You are advised to consult with your treating doctor to know more on this.

Doxycycline is likely to trigger a few adverse reactions and discomforts. Commonly encountered discomforts include nausea, vomiting, indigestion, spells of diarrhea, cramping of abdominal muscles, etc. These may show up till your system gets used to the active ingredients of this tetracycline antibiotic drug. In case these discomforts continue for long (say, for 4 days or more), seek clinical help in a healthcare setting on an urgent mode.

A small percentage of users developed intestinal problems like persistent spells of watery stool, traces of blood in stools or cramping / painful abdominal muscles. In such cases, one or more such discomforts may occur few weeks after discontinuing the consumption of doxycycline. It is quite likely that these are due to a bacterial strand known as C. difficile. Never self-medicate or use over the counter drugs in these instances. Use of such meds is known to worsen the episodes of diarrhea. Instead, talk to your treating doctor for proper diagnosis and a suiting medication plan.

Use of doxycycline for a fairly longer span of time may trigger yeast or fungal infections. Among women, these may show up in their vagina; for men, patches called oral thrushes can show up in the mouth. People with known episodes of hypersensitivity or allergies to tetracycline antibiotic meds must consult with their caregiving team. Those with allergies may also witness skin conditions such as itchiness, rashes, patches or bumps on skin. It is also likely to cause a severe spell of dizziness, breathing problems like panting for breath, gasping or wheezing. If you are taking other forms of antibiotics, the caregiver must be updated about these medication plans.

In general, tell your doctor about your other ailments and treatment plans, if any. Make a list of all such plans; include regularly used drugs and recent changes made to your lifestyle. While you make the list, care to add over the counter meds, prescription drugs, herbal aids, supplementary meds, dietary aids, etc. Upon encountering any serious drug interactions while taking doxycycline along with other drugs, contact your caregiving team without much delay. If you are encountering serious side effects such as shortness of breath, severe level of dizziness, etc., contact helplines of the food and drug administration (FDA). You may also call 911 on an emergency basis. Users based in Canada can either reach out to Health Canada or rush to a poison control center located in your province.

In sum, doxycycline is used for the treatment of pneumonia. This drug can be effective if the underlying cause is a bacterial infection. This drug may be of little / no use if a fungal or viral infection is the root cause of your respiratory ailment. This med is not taken through an over the counter (OTC) route or self-medication. It needs to be used under the clinical guidance and supervision of a qualified clinical professional.

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