Friday, September 29, 2023

Early Signs Of Pneumonia In Older Adults

What Are The Treatments For Pneumonia

pneumonia symptoms in adults

Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia, which germ is causing it, and how severe it is:

  • Antibiotics treat bacterial pneumonia and some types of fungal pneumonia. They do not work for viral pneumonia.
  • In some cases, your provider may prescribe antiviral medicines for viral pneumonia
  • Antifungal medicines treat other types of fungal pneumonia

You may need to be treated in a hospital if your symptoms are severe or if you are at risk for complications. While there, you may get additional treatments. For example, if your blood oxygen level is low, you may receive oxygen therapy.

It may take time to recover from pneumonia. Some people feel better within a week. For other people, it can take a month or more.

Pneumonia is usually the result of a bacterial infection.

As well as bacterial pneumonia, other types include:

  • viral pneumonia caused by a virus, such as coronavirus
  • aspiration pneumonia caused by breathing in vomit, a foreign object, such as a peanut, or a harmful substance, such as smoke or a chemical
  • fungal pneumonia rare in the UK and more likely to affect people with a weakened immune system
  • hospital-acquired pneumonia pneumonia that develops in hospital while being treated for another condition or having an operation people in intensive care on breathing machines are particularly at risk of developing ventilator-associated pneumonia

How Do The Lungs Work

Your lungs main job is to get oxygen into your blood and remove carbon dioxide. This happens during breathing. You breathe 12 to 20 times per minute when you are not sick. When you breathe in, air travels down the back of your throat and passes through your voice box and into your windpipe . Your trachea splits into two air passages . One bronchial tube leads to the left lung, the other to the right lung. For the lungs to perform their best, the airways need to be open as you breathe in and out. Swelling and mucus can make it harder to move air through the airways, making it harder to breathe. This leads to shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and feeling more tired than normal.

Caring For An Elderly Person With Pneumonia

There are different ways in which pneumonia can be diagnosed and this can include chest x-rays that determine whether there are lung blockages. This helps doctors to make a determination of how far the infection has spread. A blood test may be necessary.

Antibiotics are some of the treatment options that can be used by doctors. There are some bacterial infection strains that have become resistant to antibiotics over time.

Regardless of what caused pneumonia, you need to get help for the senior as soon as you possibly can. Encourage the elderly to get vaccinated as this can help to a great extent.

Read Also: Is There A Vaccine To Prevent Pneumonia

Why Pneumonia Is So Dangerous For The Elderly

Pneumonia is a treatable illness that gets a bad reputation for turning serious without proper medical attention and care. This infection affects the air sacs in either one or both of your lungs. These sacs become inflamed filling with fluid or pus, which brings on fits of coughing, fever, chills, difficulty swallowing, and breathing. Pneumonia can be life-threatening to seniors exposed to bacteria, viruses, or fungi. It is most dangerous for people older than age 65 because seniors tend to have health issues or weakened immune systems.

At Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine in Algonquin, Illinois, our specialists are trained in diagnosing, preventing, and treating pulmonary disorders by offering personalized treatment plans for your condition.

Whos at risk?

Pneumonia is an illness that can affect anyone. However, there are some groups of people that are at increased risk of contracting it. Children younger than 2 and adults over 65 are most at risk for pneumonia. It is an especially dangerous illness with severe consequences to both children and seniors because the presence of fluid in the alveoli makes it difficult for their lungs to work properly.

As we age, our immune system tends to be less effective, making us more susceptible to illness. In seniors, the infection tends to be severe, warranting emergency treatment or even oxygen therapy.

What are some symptoms of pneumonia?

How is pneumonia diagnosed?

Treating pneumonia

Preventing pneumonia

Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Elderly: Diagnosis And Treatment

Pneumonia  Health Park Pharmacy

Pneumonia is a serious illness that affects seniors in a way that is radical and different from others. It sees to target seniors because it is so rampant in that age group. It is therefore important to understand as much as you can about pneumonia, its causes, how it can be prevented, and the way seniors contract it so as to get help when the need arises. Pneumonia symptoms in elderly have to be understood so that action can be taken as soon as possible.

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Prevention Techniques For Pneumonia

Pneumonia is typically caused by bacteria or viruses. It can be contracted by contact with other people. Therefore, its recommended that people follow good hygiene practices such as hand washing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces. Staying up-to-date on vaccines is also critical, including the flu shot.

Older adults should also observe a balanced diet and maintain an active lifestyle.

What Other Treatments May Be Recommended

Additional treatments that may be used for pneumonia include:

  • Fluids. Its important to make sure that you have adequate fluid intake when youre sick with pneumonia. If youre hospitalized, you may receive fluids by IV.
  • Oxygen therapy. If youre hospitalized with pneumonia, oxygen therapy may be used to make sure that youre receiving enough oxygen.
  • Rest. Getting plenty of rest can help your body respond to the infection. If you must perform daily activities, try not to overdo it and dont hesitate to ask for help, if necessary.
  • Use heat and humidity. Drinking warm beverages or broths and using a humidifier may help to loosen mucus in your throat and chest.
  • Over-the-counter medications. These can help ease symptoms like fever and discomfort. Examples include things like acetaminophen , ibuprofen , and naproxen .

with an increased risk of hospitalization and mortality when compared to other age groups. Symptoms can also be atypical and can quickly worsen.

Because of this, seeking prompt medical attention is essential in promoting a positive outlook.

The recovery period for pneumonia can vary based on the severity of your illness. Its possible that your symptoms may get better after a period of days or weeks.

However, in some people, the recovery period may be longer.

In order to improve outcome, its important that older adults whove had pneumonia pay close attention to the following during their recovery period:

  • nutrition

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Lung Cancer: Early Signs And Symptoms

Health Check Certified By: Dr. Gerald Morris

Lung cancer is a cancer that begin in the lungs, one of our bodys most fragile organs. Located in the chest, these spongy organs work to provide oxygen to our body. Cancer in the lungs usually begins with a tumor, a group of cells that grow and destroy nearby tissue. While its possible the cancer can spread to other parts of the body, when it begins in the lungs its called primary lung cancer.

According to the Mayo Clinic, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Even though lung cancer kills approximately 1.3 million people each year, the disease is not a definite death sentence. Those diagnosed early stand a 50-percent greater chance of survival over those whose undiagnosed cancer spreads to other organs throughout the body. To better protect yourself against lung cancer, get informed on the following early warning signs

Hydration Rest And Monitoring

Early Pneumonia Symptoms in Adults | Pneumonia Home Remedies

Hydration and rest are the basic steps that are needed during recovery after a hospital discharge or when one does not have to be admitted. The seniors need to be monitored so as to ensure that the infection doesnt come back or even become worse.

Be mindful of the symptoms and also know that pneumonia can be very persistent and hard to deal with elderly persons. Recovery from pneumonia in elderly should be taken seriously as well. It is important to keep the person under very close monitoring.

It is important to note that an elderly person could be very weak because of physical capabilities as well as a compromised immune system. Therefore, monitoring and allowing them to rest is essential. Since the elderly can also be quite forgetful.

It is important to make sure that they take all their drugs on time, take lots of fluids, and eat a healthy and balanced diet. The fact that pneumonia has the likelihood of being persistent and difficult to treat in the elderly should be one of the things that should encourage us to be more vigilant in caring for elderly persons.

Also Check: Is Pneumonia Contagious Mayo Clinic

Are Vaccines Available To Prevent Pneumonia

Yes, there are two types of vaccines specifically approved to prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. Similar to a flu shot, these vaccines wont protect against all types of pneumonia, but if you do come down with pneumonia, its less likely to be as severe or potentially life-threatening especially for people who are at increased risk for pneumonia.

  • Bacterial pneumonia: Two pneumonia vaccines, Pneumovax23® and Prevnar13®, protect against the most common causes of bacterial pneumonia.
  • Pneumovax23® protects against 23 different types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children over 2 years of age who are at increased risk for pneumonia.
  • Prevnar13® protects against 13 types of pneumonia bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and children under 2 years of age. Ask your healthcare provider about these vaccines.
  • Viral pneumonia: Get a flu vaccine once every year. Flu vaccines are prepared to protect against that years virus strain. Having the flu can make it easier to get bacterial pneumonia.
  • If you have children, ask their doctor about other vaccines they should get. Several childhood vaccines help prevent infections caused by the bacteria and viruses that can lead to pneumonia.

    Why Is Pneumonia Dangerous For The Elderly

    Even if your loved one is able to recover from a case of pneumonia, he or she may suffer from long-term effects from the illness. Survivors may be weak mentally and physically. He or she may also have increased symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Overall, the elderly patients quality of life may decline after fighting pneumonia.

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    Pneumonia Vs Cold And Flu Symptoms

    Itâs tricky, because pneumonia can be a complication of colds and flu. This happens when the germs that cause those common illnesses get into your lungs. You might be feeling better, but then you start getting symptoms again — and this time, they can be a lot worse.

    Cold symptoms tend to start slowly. Youâre more likely to sneeze and have a runny nose and sore throat than with either the flu or pneumonia. Colds donât usually cause a fever in adults.

    The top clue that you have the flu is that the symptoms come on strong, seemingly out of nowhere. You may have:

    • Fever above 100.4 F

    When To Seek Medical Help

    Pneumonia: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications

    Any case of pneumonia is potentially serious. The online health resource Mayo Clinic recommends all adults aged 65 and over seek medical attention at the first sign of pneumonia, if only as a precaution. Serious symptoms of pneumonia include:

    • A fever that rises above 102 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Persistent cough, especially with pain and/or pus
    • Chest pain, which may be a sign of several major health problems that need a doctors attention
    • Shortness of breath, which is virtually always grounds to seek immediate medical attention
    • Dizziness, tunnel vision, confusion or other signs you might not be getting enough oxygen through your lungs

    In addition to these serious symptoms, certain groups of people should always have the signs of pneumonia examined by a qualified medical professional:

    • Children under 24 months of age
    • Seniors
    • People whose immune systems have been compromised, including people with HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy recipients and people on immunosuppressant therapy for a transplant
    • Anyone living with an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or cancer

    The good news is that, while tens of thousands of Americans pass away from pneumonia each year, hundreds of thousands survive. Medical treatments for pneumonia work relatively well for overall healthy adults. Symptom recognition and early detection are both important for a successful outcome.

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    Early Signs Of Pneumonia

    Some of the first signs of pneumonia that you need to watch out include

    • Cough: If the cough does not clear up, then it can be a sign of pneumonia. In some cases, it can lead to a build-up of mucus in the lungs. Besides, this cough can be greenish, yellowish or even a bloody substance in some cases.
    • Chest Pain: The infection in the lungs can cause pain while coughing or breathing. Sometimes, deep coughing can cause sharp pain in the chest.
    • Fever: In most pneumonia patients, fever is a common sign. However, if you are over 65 years, then you may experience low body temperature too.
    • Fatigue: With age, you may already be feeling low on energy. Besides, consistent coughing and fluctuating body temperature can also sap the body energy. So, you may also feel exhausted.
    • Shortness of Breath: The air sacs in the lungs get filled with pus, which causes difficulty in breathing. You may notice falling short of breath when you try rushing-up for anything. It can be even walking a little fast to answer a phone call or doorbell.

    Along with the above signs, a state of confusion is also common in pneumonia patients. These slips are often due to exhaustion and infection.

    How To Treat Pneumonia In The Elderly

    The best treatment for pneumonia is to use antibiotics to kill the bacterial or fungal organisms. The anti-microbial medication of choice depends on which organism is causing the infection, the chance that the organism is resistant to the basic antibiotics, and the underlying condition of the patient’s health.

    About 80 percent of community-acquired pneumonia can safely be treated at home with just the use of oral antibiotics. Empiric treatment is given when the exact organism and its sensitivities are not known. When the exact cause of the pneumonia is identified, the exact antibiotic against the microorganism can be used and the treatment can become more tailored. About 20 percent, pneumonia must be treated in a hospital with IV antibiotics.

    If the pneumonia is due to a virus, no antibiotic is available to treat this type of infection. Sometimes, antiviral medication can be used to treat the pneumonia. These types of medications are best given early in the course of the disease and include medications like Tamiflu and Relenza. Fungal pneumonias are treated with anti-fungal medications.

    Read Also: Which Form Of Pneumonia Can Be Prevented Through Vaccination

    How Can I Prevent Pneumonia

  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands, distance yourself from people who are ill, cough into your mouth and refrain from touching your eyes, mouth and nose. Following the same recommendations to reduce flu risk can also reduce the risk of developing pneumonia.
  • Get a flu shot. The flu shot is a safe and effective way to prevent the flu. Since the flu is one cause of pneumonia, a flu shot can prevent you from getting the flu and minimize your risk of pneumonia
  • Get a pneumococcal vaccine. A pneumococcal vaccine cannot protect you from all causes of pneumonia, but it can minimize your risk of developing pneumonia from the most common strains. There are vaccinations developed for specific age groups. The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following routine pneumonia vaccinations:
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccination for:

  • All babies and children younger than 2 years old
  • People 2 years or older with certain medical conditions
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination for:

  • All adults 65 years or older
  • People 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions
  • Adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes
  • If you have been experiencing pneumonia symptoms, make an appointmentwith your provider today. Prompt treatment of pneumonia isimportant for recovery. Requestan appointment with a family medicine provider to receive your flu andpneumococcal vaccinations.

    Where Can You Acquire Pneumonia

    Med Talk Health Talk: Pneumonia

    You can get pneumonia from a variety of different places, which include:

    • Community-acquired pneumonia . This is pneumonia that you get outside of a hospital or healthcare facility. Its estimated that CAP is the third most common cause of hospitalization in people ages 65 years and older.
    • Healthcare-associated pneumonia. This is pneumonia that you acquire while in a healthcare facility. Older adults who are hospitalized or in a long-term care facility may be at an increased risk for this type of pneumonia.
    • Aspiration pneumonia. This happens when you inhale things like food, saliva, or vomit into your lungs. Older individuals with swallowing disorders can be at higher risk for developing this type of pneumonia.

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    Why Are Older Adults More Affected

    Seniors can be more affected by illness in general because of weakened immune systems. The flu and lung-related conditions are especially more likely to occur in the elderly, which can then develop into pneumonia.

    Seniors are also more likely to have diabetes or heart disease, which can increase the risk of pneumonia. Older adults can also sometimes have difficulty producing a strong cough, which will help the body remove harmful germs or bacteria that may cause pneumonia.

    When To Contact A Medical Professional

    • Cough that brings up bloody or rust-colored mucus
    • Breathing symptoms that get worse
    • Chest pain that gets worse when you cough or breathe in
    • Fast or painful breathing
    • Night sweats or unexplained weight loss
    • Shortness of breath, shaking chills, or persistent fevers
    • Signs of pneumonia and a weak immune system
    • Worsening of symptoms after initial improvement

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