When Lizzie Enfield was discharged from the hospital after a bout with pneumonia, she was supposed to take it easy for a while. Instead, like many of us would, she got right back to her old life. A few months later, she was back in the hospital with a kidney infection.
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria that cause inflammation and damage to the insides of the lungs, and a seven-day course of antibiotics is usually enough to kill the bacteria, explains Dr Angshu Bhowmik, a consultant in respiratory and general medicine at Homerton University Hospital, London.
‘However, antibiotics do not repair the inflammation and damage. It takes anything from a week to several months for the X-ray to come back to normal after a bout of pneumonia.
‘During this time, people will not be back at “normal” health and this may indicate the time frame of convalescence.’
In other words, I should have spent several weeks taking it easy.
Though Enfield lives in England, her story resonates here in the U.S., where people are also discharged earlier than they used to be, and convalescence usually happens at home. It’s a good reminder that doctors’ orders really are for our own good.
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