• Boston Senior Medicine

COVID-19 Pneumonia & Antibiotics: The Clinical Evidence




The issue here is that viral pneumonia doesn’t respond to antibiotics (since antibiotics treat bacterial infections), so why would we give anyone with COVID-19 pneumonia antibiotics.


How Do We Know? Clinically, it’s difficult to tell difference between COVID-19 and bacterial pneumonia. However, we know seniors are more likely to develop a bacterial pneumonia than other persons in non-pandemic times. So it’s reasonable to treat with antibiotics in a handful of cases.


Treatment.The general approach has been to monitor patients with COVID-19 and pneumonia. In most cases, a person with mild infiltrates without fever or cough may require only supportive treatment (such as adequate rest, increased fluid intake, etc) while the body fights it off.


On the other end, persons may require more specialized hospital treatment and life support. Or something in-between.


Summary. COVID-19 pneumonia is viral, since COVID-19 is a viral infection. However, depending on a patient’s symptoms and risk factors, we may prescribe antibiotics to treat the usual culprits and take other supportive measures.


Since new information becomes available daily, visit the Center for Disease Control’s website for the most up to date information on COVID-19.

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