5 Treatment Options for Lung Inflammation

May 7th 2016

Avoid Triggers

Initially, your doctor may recommend that you avoid airborne substances that can trigger lung inflammation, especially if you have a hypersensitivity to common irritants. Harsh chemicals such as household cleaners and industrial chemicals may cause lung inflammation. Avoid common allergens including dust, pet dander and pollen.


More severe cases of pneumonitis require corticosteroids that reduce inflammation by suppressing your natural immune system. These drugs normally include oral medications. Long-term use of corticosteroids may increase your risk of other infections or osteoporosis.

Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen therapy can help alleviate the effects of lung inflammation by giving your lungs more oxygen to breathe. Some patients may need to carry around an oxygen tank for a long period of time, while others may only need oxygen during sleep or exercise. The tank delivers oxygen to your lungs through plastic tubes with prongs that fit into your nostrils.

Antibiotics and Antiviral Medicines

Pneumonia causes the air sacs in your lungs, called alveoli, to inflame and fill with mucus. Doctors treat pneumonia differently based on whether the lung infection stems from bacteria or viruses. Take antibiotics, as prescribed by your doctor, to treat bacterial pneumonia. Most patients improve within one to three days of treatment. Antiviral medications, rather than antibiotics, treat any viruses that may have caused pneumonia in your lungs. Viral pneumonia clears up in one to three weeks.

Asthma Medications

Doctors treat inflammation caused by asthma in two basic ways. In this disorder, the linings of the bronchial tubes narrow due to inflammation and breathing becomes more difficult.

Inhaled medicines come in liquid form and distribute into your lungs when you inhale a mist created by a nebulizer. Corticosteroids inhaled in this manner go straight to the linings of your lungs, coat the bronchial tubes and open up the airways by reducing any swelling. Non-corticosteroid drugs, such as beta2-agonists or cromolyn, may also help with a nebulizer.

The other treatment method involves oral or injected medicines that block inflammation signals within your lungs. Omalizumab injections, given one or two times per month, may help prevent your body from reacting to asthma triggers. Leukotriene modifiers, taken orally, block the reaction that causes lung inflammation. Theophylline, also taken orally, opens the bronchial tubes so you can breathe easier.


Lung inflammation, generally known as pneumonitis, may have one of several causes. The cause of the inflammation determines which of the various treatment options a doctor is likely to suggest. Five basic treatment regimens include avoiding exposure to triggers and oxygen therapy.

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