Sunday, October 1, 2023

Causes Of Pneumonia In Elderly

Treatment And Medication Options For Pneumonia

Elderly and Pneumonia

A lot of treatment aspects, as well as outcome, depend on the person, as well as the type of pneumonia they have, says Dr. Barron. Sometimes youll be fine just resting, but if you have things like trouble breathing, you should get to a doctor right away.

Your doctor will outline a plan thatâs specific to you, considering the type of pneumonia you have, the severity of the condition, your age, and your overall health. From there, youâll know whether you can be treated at home or need to go to the hospital, and whether you require antibiotics.

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When Can I Return To Work School And Regular Activities If I Have Pneumonia

You typically can resume your normal activities if your symptoms are gone, mild or improving and you do not have new or worsening:

  • Shortness of breath or tiredness
  • Chest pain
  • Mucus, fever or cough

If you are generally healthy, most people feel well enough to return to previous activities in about a week. However, it may take about a month to feel totally back to normal.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bacterial Versus Viral Pneumonia In Adults

Symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild sometimes called walking pneumonia to severe. How serious your case of pneumonia depends on the particular germ causing pneumonia, your overall health, and your age.

Bacterial pneumonia: Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Tiredness

Additional symptoms appearing about a day later include:

  • Higher fever
  • Shortness of breath

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Which Types Of Doctors Treat Pneumonia

In some cases, primary care physicians, including pediatricians, internists, and family medicine specialists, may manage the care for patients with pneumonia. In more severe cases, other types of specialists may be involved in treating the patient with pneumonia. These include infectious-disease specialists, pulmonologists, critical care specialists, and hospitalists.

Is Pneumonia Treated Any Differently In Children

Pneumonia: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications

Essentially no. Just like adults, bacterial causes of pneumonia in children may be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are not used to treat pneumonia caused by viruses. Flu-related pneumonia may be treated with antiviral medicine if caught early in the course of illness. Most cases of pneumonia are treated with comfort care measures that ease symptoms. These may include:

  • Drinking more fluids.
  • Getting more rest.
  • Taking over-the-counter medicines for cough and acetaminophen for fever. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about giving medicines to your child.
  • Using a cool mist humidifier in your childs room.

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Key Points About Pneumonia

  • Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

  • There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasma pneumonia.

  • A cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus is the most common symptom of pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, shortness of breath, low energy, and extreme tiredness.

  • Pneumonia can often be diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Tests used to look at the lungs, blood tests, and tests done on the sputum you cough up may also be used.

  • Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. It may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have a specific treatment and just get better on their own. Other treatment may include a healthy diet, more fluids, rest, oxygen therapy, and medicine for pain, cough, and fever control.

  • Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can cause serious lung and infection problems. It can even be deadly.

Acute Care For Elderly Pneumonia Complications

Children, adults, and seniors all experience pneumonia symptoms differently. In many cases, an older adult will experience more subtle symptoms like the worsening of existing health conditions, confusion, dizziness, and sudden changes in mental awareness. At the first sign of complications, you should contact your medical provider. Sudden, lingering chest pain and new respiratory difficulties are particularly worrisome symptoms, especially with a coronavirus diagnosis. In some situations, COVID-19 may lead to pneumonia, which can become severe in older adults.

If youre experiencing emergency symptoms of COVID-19 or pneumoniasuch as trouble breathing, persistent pain/pressure in the chest, and new confusionseek medical care immediately. In these acute care situations, DispatchHealth can help older adults at risk of developing serious pneumonia complications by providing prompt medical treatment in the comfort of their homes. We provide at-home testing, treatment, and patient support for a wide range of illnesses, including:

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Issues That Are Especially Significant When Treating Elderly Patients With Pneumonia

Functional assessment. It is useful to quantify the level of function of your elderly patients with use of Barthel’s index and or the hierarchial assessment of balance and mobility . The former scores 15 factors that are rated by the patient as follows: can do by myself, can do with help of someone else, and cannot do at all. The total score can range from 0 to 100 . A score 40 defines those who are severely dependent, whereas a score of 4160 indicates marked dependence. The hierarchical assessment of balance and mobility separates mobility into 3 categoriesmobility, transfers, and balanceand constructs a hierarchical range of abilities in each section.

Referral to geriatric assessment team and restorative care. Elderly patients who are functionally impaired should be referred for geriatric assessment. Some of these patients may require admission to a geriatric rehabilitation center after the pneumonia has resolved. Studies have shown that geriatric assessment teams do improve the care of the elderly, resulting in a reduction in the number of patients who need discharge to long-term-care institutions . However, such assessment with only limited follow-up has not been effective .

Hedlund et al. , in a study of 97 patients with pneumonia, found that a low triceps skin-fold thickness, low body mass index, and high acute physiology and chronic health evaluation II score correlated with death within 6 months.

What Causes Bacterial Pneumonia

Why recovering from pneumonia is an uphill battle for the elderly

Bacteria pneumonia is caused by bacteria that works its way into the lungs and then multiplies. It can occur on its own or develop after another illness, like a cold or the flu. People who have a higher risk for pneumonia may:

  • be recovering from surgery

Doctors classify bacterial pneumonia based on whether it developed inside or outside a hospital.

Community-acquired pneumonia : This is the most common type of bacterial pneumonia. CAP occurs when you get an infection after exposure to bacterial agents outside of a healthcare setting. You can get CAP by breathing in respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes, or by skin-to-skin contact.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia : HAP occurs within two to three days of exposure to germs in a medical setting, such as a hospital or doctors office. This is also called a nosocomial infection. This type of pneumonia is often more resistant to antibiotics and more is difficult to treat than CAP.

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Symptoms Of Pneumonia In The Elderly

The symptoms of pneumonia do vary and depend a great deal on the seniors physical state. In some, the symptoms come on rapidly and in others they may start occurring after a bout with the flu or a cold.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the chest or ribs
  • Cough that may be wet or produce phlegm
  • Lower-than-normal body temperature
  • Confusion

Preventing Pneumonia In Older Adults

You can help your aging loved one prevent pneumonia by encouraging them to follow these steps:

  • Get the pneumococcal vaccineTalk to the doctor about what type of pneumococcal vaccine is right for your aging parent.
  • Get the flu shot each yearPneumonia can be a secondary infection after an initial bout of influenza. People who get the flu shot have a lower risk of developing pneumonia as a complication of the flu.
  • Wash handsthoroughly and oftenEspecially before and after preparing food, before eating, and after using the bathroom.
  • Practice good health habitsStay physically active, and eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Manage chronic conditionsConditions can include asthma, COPD, diabetes, and more.
  • Dont smoke

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Pleural Effusion Empyema And Abscess

In pneumonia, a collection of fluid may form in the space that surrounds the lung. Occasionally, microorganisms will infect this fluid, causing an empyema. To distinguish an empyema from the more common simple parapneumonic effusion, the fluid may be collected with a needle , and examined. If this shows evidence of empyema, complete drainage of the fluid is necessary, often requiring a drainage catheter. In severe cases of empyema, surgery may be needed. If the infected fluid is not drained, the infection may persist, because antibiotics do not penetrate well into the pleural cavity. If the fluid is sterile, it must be drained only if it is causing symptoms or remains unresolved.

In rare circumstances, bacteria in the lung will form a pocket of infected fluid called a lung abscess. Lung abscesses can usually be seen with a chest X-ray but frequently require a chest CT scan to confirm the diagnosis. Abscesses typically occur in aspiration pneumonia, and often contain several types of bacteria. Long-term antibiotics are usually adequate to treat a lung abscess, but sometimes the abscess must be drained by a surgeon or radiologist.

Different Epidemiologic Categories Of Pneumonia In Older Adults

Pneumonia: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Pneumonia has traditionally been epidemiologically categorized by the site of onset, for example, CAP, nursing homeacquired pneumonia, and hospital-acquired pneumonia. CAP is defined as pneumonia that occurs in patients who are not hospitalized or who are admitted to the hospital for less than 48 hours. Within the spectrum CAP, patients can be categorized to patients who are at risk of acquiring CAP owing to multidrug-resistant organisms , and patients without risk factors of MDROs.

In the 2005 guidelines for hospital-acquired pneumonia the term health careassociated pneumonia was introduced to identify patients who develop pneumonia outside of the hospital but owing to health care exposures were at increased risk for MDRO pathogens. The criteria for HCAP included patients who were hospitalized in an acute care hospital for 2 or more days within the 90 days before infection had recently resided in a nursing home or a LTCF had received recent intravenous antibiotic therapy, chemotherapy, or wound care within the 30 days before the current infection or had recently attended a hospital or hemodialysis clinics.

Distribution of community-acquired pneumonia and subsets of CAP, including CAP among long-term care facility residents , and CAP owing to multidrug-resistant organisms .

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Elderly At Increased Risk For Pneumonia

Every day people encounter germs that cause pneumonia, but the young and healthy are rarely in danger. However, seniors are at a significantly increased risk. Pneumonia tends to be far more aggressive with the elderly.

The reasons why pneumonia attacks aging individuals:

  • Aging immune system that is less effective at fighting off infections
  • Chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease
  • Lung related problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Frailty that makes it hard to produce a strong cough

Clinical Presentation And Diagnosis

Pneumonia in elderly patients was described by William Osler as a painless and fatal disease. The disease was described as latent, without chills, with mild cough, and sometimes without sputum. Physical examination was marked owing to the lack of classic evidence of consolidation, and mental status changes might be the only signs of pneumonia.

Not much has changed in our knowledge regarding pneumonia manifestations in the elderly. Fever may be absent in 25% to 55% of pneumonia cases in older adults,, , and a similar proportion of elderly patients present with altered mental status. Of 48 patients older than 65 years in a veterans administration medical center who were diagnosed with pneumonia based on new pulmonary infiltrates and symptoms, only 35% presented with fever and cough. The absence of classic symptoms was more common in patients with reduced baseline functional capacity. A study that evaluated 1812 patients from 4 US hospitals demonstrated that, as patients became older, the number of reported symptoms of pneumonia decreased.

Simple physical examination findings, including respiratory rate and pulse oximetry have a high sensitivity for pneumonia and, if present, indicate the need for further evaluation of pneumonia, potentially including imaging, testing, and referral to an acute care hospital., In 1 study of LTFC subjects with pneumonia, an oxygen saturation of less than 94% was sensitive and specific for the diagnosis of pneumonia .

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Caring For Seniors With Pneumonia

If a loved one is diagnosed with pneumonia, there are some special considerations you should make to provide the best environment for recovery. Here are some tips on caring for a senior with pneumonia.

Carefully monitor symptoms

Pay close attention to your loved one and how their symptoms are progressing. Any worsening of symptoms should be a sign to seek medical attention immediately.

Give rides to doctors appointments

Seniors will likely have doctors appointments or need to pick up prescriptions. Family caregivers can help ease this burden by assisting with transportation.

Carefully monitor symptoms

Pay close attention to your loved one and how their symptoms are progressing. Any worsening of symptoms should be a sign to seek medical attention immediately.

Gives rides to doctors appointments

Seniors will likely have doctors appointments or need to pick up prescriptions. Family caregivers can help ease this burden by assisting with transportation.

Help with household chores

While your loved one is recovering from pneumonia, they may not be able to perform regular tasks, like cleaning. If possible, help with household chores so that your aging loved one can devote all of their energy to a speedy recovery instead of worrying about completing tasks at home.

Help with medication

Manage meals

Many seniors with pneumonia will experience a loss of appetite. Its important to make sure that they receive the proper nutrients and hydration to recover.

Control proper oral hygiene

Pneumonia In Elderly With Dementia

What causes pneumonia?

Dementia usually refers to a decline in mental ability that seriously impacts a persons everyday life. Short-term memory loss and confusion and are most common when dementia results from an injury or an infection such as pneumonia.

According to the Alzheimers Association, the symptoms of dementia can be different in every person. However, a person may have dementia if two or more of the following functions are impaired significantly:

  • Memory
  • Visual perception

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Common Skin Rashes Adults

Check out the list from the American Academy of Pediatrics to see how you can help prevent, identify, and soothe these common summertime skin rashes. 1. Heat Rash. Heat rash is seen most often in babies and young children when sweat gland pores become blocked and perspiration cant escape. The rash .

Why Is Pneumonia More Common In The Elderly

Because of how common and deadly this disease can be to those in the later stages of their lives, it may seem as if pneumonia specifically targets seniors. However, there are many reasons for this. Risk factors for pneumonia include:

  • Overall Health: Many seniors already suffer from other medical afflictions, meaning they have weakened immune systems and have a harder time fighting off infections
  • Weaker Lungs: Pneumonia is caused by fluid buildup in the lungs, making breathing difficult and leading to violent coughing fits. Older adults generally have more difficulty coughing and clearing their airways, which means the infection can reach their bronchial tubes very easily. Coughing is the bodys natural way of expelling pathogens from the lungs, and without this ability, it becomes much easier to contract infections
  • Comorbid Diseases: Certain conditions, such as diabetes, Parkinsons, heart diseases, and lung diseases , which often affect the elderly, are risk factors for pneumonia
  • Chemotherapy or radiation therapy: These cancer treatments can lead to inflammation of the lungs. This is different from the infectious type of pneumonia, but may cause similar long-term health effects. Seniors who have recently undergone cancer treatment are therefore at a higher risk

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Signs Of Pneumonia In Elderly Adults

If any of the following symptoms present in a senior, it is crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible. However, its important to note that older individuals may experience different symptoms of infection compared to younger individuals.

  • Coughing
  • Green, yellow or bloody sputum that comes up when coughing
  • Feeling lethargic
  • Suddenly feeling worse following a recent cold or bout of flu
  • Confusion or changes in behavior
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blue lips or fingernails due to a drop in blood oxygen level

Be aware that it is possible for seniors to contract a milder version of pneumonia . Symptoms of walking pneumonia can be so mild that a senior or their caregiver may not even notice them.

Five Main Symptoms Of Pneumonia

Pneumonia of the Lungs diagram 433937 Vector Art at Vecteezy

Heres what to look out for:

1. A cough that has thick yellow, green, or brownish phlegm sometimes bloodstained.

2. Difficulty breathing

4. Rapid heartbeat

5. Sweating, shivering and feeling generally unwell

If youre worried, its important to see your GP. Pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose but a doctor can check for any crackling or rattling sounds in the chest . He can also arrange x-rays, blood tests and sputum tests which could identify which bacteria or virus is causing the infection. If its caught early, and with the correct treatment, a typical bout of pneumonia lasts around 7-10 days, although people can feel weak and tired for longer.

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