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:
End Of Life Care For Advanced Stage Pneumonia
If you have symptoms of the advanced stage of pneumonia, please consult your healthcare provider. Early treatment makes them easier to control. It will also make you more comfortable. Healthcare providers treat confusion and agitation by addressing the root cause where possible. At the end of life, these symptoms may have many reasons. Regardless of the cause, the symptoms must be treated. Usually, this involves medications that help you calm down. Medications can also help you think more clearly.
Things your family can do:
Keep the clock nearby so you can see the time
If possible, continue to help you wear hearing aids or glasses
Give you pain medicine
Place familiar objects around you
Promote relaxation and sleep
How Long Is Pneumonia Contagious
It is impossible to say with certainty exactly how long an adult or child with pneumonia is contagious, since this varies according to the type of germ or organism that caused the pneumonia. This contagious period can range from one to two days to weeks. In general, while an infected person is coughing or sneezing, there is the potential to release contaminated droplets into the air.
Many bacterial pneumonias are much less contagious after antibiotics have been taken for about 24-48 hours. However, this time period may vary for some organisms. For example, with tuberculosis, it can take two weeks or more of antibiotics before the person is no longer contagious. With viral pneumonias, the patient becomes less contagious after the symptoms have improved, especially fever. Some people with viral pneumonia may not be contagious after one to two days with no fever, but others may still shed some infectious virus particles for a much longer time.
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Pneumonia In The Elderly
Pneumonia in the elderly is a massive topic. Did you know that there are over 30 different causes of pneumonia and that there are different types of pneumonia? In this article, we tackle some of the bigger questions people might have about pneumonia and the elderly.
We also focus on community-acquired pneumonia, which is a type of pneumonia that occurs in large populations of elderly people, such as in a hospital, an assisted living facility, or even in an apartment complex.
How Is Pneumonia In The Elderly Treated
For most adults, antibiotics are used to treat pneumonia. For those who are more fragile or who have other health issues, inpatient treatment is required. This can mean being admitted to the ICU, being intubated and placed on a respirator, and having advanced breathing treatments with pneumonia-specific medications. It can also mean all of these treatment options.
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Questions About Your Symptoms
Bacterial pneumonia, which is the most common form, tends to be more serious than other types of pneumonia, with symptoms that require medical care. The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Fever may rise as high as a dangerous 105 degrees F, with profuse sweating and rapidly increased breathing and pulse rate. Lips and nailbeds may have a bluish color due to lack of oxygen in the blood. A patient’s mental state may be confused or delirious.
The symptoms of viral pneumonia usually develop over a period of several days. Early symptoms are similar to influenza symptoms: fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle pain, and weakness. Within a day or two, the symptoms typically get worse, with increasing cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain. There may be a high fever and there may be blueness of the lips.
Symptoms may vary in certain populations. Newborns and infants may not show any signs of the infection. Or, they may vomit, have a fever and cough, or appear restless, sick, or tired and without energy. Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder symptoms. They may even have a lower than normal temperature. Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness. For individuals that already have a chronic lung disease, those symptoms may worsen.
When to call a doctor
What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Pneumonia
Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are other possible symptoms that can accompany the respiratory symptoms.
Infants and newborns may not show specific symptoms of pneumonia. Instead, the baby or child may appear restless or lethargic. A baby or child with pneumonia may also have a fever or cough or vomit. Older adults or those who have weak immune systems may also have fewer symptoms and a lower temperature. A change in mental status, such as confusion, can develop in older adults with pneumonia.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Seniors
Because there are many types of pneumonia , symptoms of infection will differ from person to person. Of course, the severity of the disease can also vary. A mild bout of the disease is often called walking pneumonia, since those affected by it only feel slightly ill and can continue their daily lives without issue. However, this is much less common in the elderly, who usually have severe symptoms, and may need emergency oxygen treatment in the worst of cases.
Common signs of pneumonia in seniors include:
- Difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath
- Harsh coughing fits that produce phlegm
- Pain in the chest or ribs
- Pale, clammy skin
- Confusion, disorientation, and difficulty focusing
- Unusual fatigue and feeling weak
- A high fever, along with sweating, shaking, and chills.
Sometimes, the symptoms may be confused for the flu. Some symptoms may not appear, while others will be apparent. This can make it difficult to identify pneumonia with confidence, but any changes in energy, appetite, behaviour, or breathing should be taken seriously and brought to the attention of a medical professional or caregiver.
Rapidly Managing Pneumonia In Older People During A Pandemic
Carl Heneghan, Jeff Aronson, Richard Hobbs, Kamal Mahtani
Please Check NICE guidance for all prescribing recommendations.
3rd April: NICE guidance updated
For general advice on managing COVID-19 symptoms, see also the NICE COVID-19 rapid guideline on managing symptoms in the community.
RationaleThe current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the risk faced by older adults, who are more susceptible to complications, including acute respiratory distress syndrome, usually as a result of pneumonia. Comorbidities, impaired immunity and frailty, including a reduced ability to cough and to clear secretions from the lungs, can all contribute to this complication. Older people are therefore more likely to develop severe pneumonia, suffer from respiratory failure, and die.
Viruses are thought to cause about 50% of cases of pneumonia. Viral pneumonia is generally less severe than bacterial pneumonia but can act as a precursor to it. Preventing any pneumonia in older adults is preferable to treating it.
Identification of the early stages of pneumonia in older patients can prove difficult. Traditional symptoms and signs, including fever, may be absent. Limited evidence suggests that many tests that are useful in younger patients do not help diagnose infections in older adults. The onset of pneumonia in elderly people can often be rapid, and the prognosis is poor in severe pneumonia: as many as one in five will die. The older you are, the more prevalent severe pneumonia becomes.
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The Symptoms Associated With Pneumonia
So, what are the things that can warn you of a pneumonia infection? The first thing you should know about is all the risk factors that we have already looked at. Seniors who are sick and those that have issues coughing are at a risk.
Also, those that have an immune system that is compromised and living under institutional settings are also at a very high risk of contracting the illness. When you know the risk factors, then you can easily put pneumonia into perspective. A senior may experience sudden cough fits, but that does not mean they are infected.
However, this is not to mean that such a senior is not likely to develop the issue as time passes on. When a cough is persistent, you should be concerned because it is a sign of disease that can precede pneumonia. Chest infection symptoms could be an indication of pneumonia onset.
Treatment For Pneumonia In Seniors
Treatment will differ depending on the type of pneumonia. Normally, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics, anti-virals, or other medications. However, if the symptoms are severe enough, admittance to the ICU may be required. Emergency treatment may consist of being given a respirator, bronchodilators, fluids, and round-the-clock monitoring for the length of the hospitalization.
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How Can I Tell If I Have Pneumonia Versus The Common Cold Or The Flu
Do I have a cold or could it be the flu or even pneumonia? Its tough to tell the difference but critical to know when to seek medical care
Watch for these ongoing symptoms that occur in pneumonia:
- Serious congestion or chest pain.
- Difficulty breathing.
- A fever of 102 or higher.
- Coughing that produces pus.
Pneumonia symptoms last longer than cold and flu. If your symptoms arent severe, its okay to try such home remedies as getting more rest, drinking more fluids and taking some over-the-counter medicines and see what happens. But if you dont see improvement in your symptoms after three to five days, or if you are experiencing more serious symptoms such as dizziness or severe difficulty breathing, see your healthcare provider. Dont let it go. Pneumonia-like symptoms in very young children or in adults older than 65 are a cause for concern. Also, pneumonia can cause permanent lung damage if left untreated for too long. And always seek immediate care if you experience chest pain or have breathing difficulties.
Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Elderly: Diagnosis And Treatment
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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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia In The Elderly
As with many diseases and illnesses, the signs and symptoms vary from one person to the next and may mimic other disorders too. In general terms, the following are common signs and symptoms of pneumonia in the elderly.
As mentioned, the symptoms of pneumonia vary from one person to the next and change based on the health level of the person who is inflicted. Those with chronic disease have the hardest time, but pneumonia can be deadly even in the healthiest of our elders.
How To Treat Pneumonia In Seniors
Pneumonia can often be treated at home. The goal is to rid your body of the infection while preventing more serious complications. Pneumonia affects the lungs and breathing. This makes it vital to ensure that the body is getting the oxygen it needs to recover. Following these steps can help to manage the symptoms of fever and cough so that your loved one can recover more quickly:
Recovery from pneumonia can take anywhere from a week to months. You will need to talk to your doctor about when it is appropriate to return to a normal routine.
An early response to the signs of pneumonia can be your best strategy for a smooth recovery.
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Is Pneumonia Treated Any Differently In Children
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.
Preventing Pneumonia In The Elderly
- Wash their hands frequently: Everyone knows this piece of advice, but not everyone follows it. They should though, because frequent handwashing can greatly lower the risk of infections, including pneumonia.
- Get vaccinated: Getting the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine lowers seniors risk of getting bacterial pneumonia. Doctors recommend people get a first dose in their 50s, a second dose at age 65 and an additional dose every five years. An annual flu vaccine can also lower risk of pneumonia, because pneumonia sometimes develops as a complication of the flu.
- Avoid people who have a cold or the flu: It may feel rude, but safety comes first. Make plans to see them when theyre feeling better. If you must be around people who are sick, wear a medical face mask to protect yourself.
- Keep their teeth clean: Infected teeth are a prime place for a pneumonia infection to strike. Practice good oral hygiene and visit the dentist regularly to prevent that from happening.
- Keep their homes clean: Dust, mold and mildew can hurt the lungs and increase risk of pneumonia. Seniors may need help from a loved one or a professional cleaning service to keep their homes free from these irritants.
- Live a healthy life: Some of the practices used to treat pneumonia, like getting lots of rest, eating healthy and staying hydrated, can also help fend off illness in the first place. Getting regular exercise and choosing not to smoke cigarettes is also important.
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Causes Of Pneumonia In Elderly People
- As people age, their immune systems work less well, leaving them less able to fend off infections.
- Heart disease, diabetes and other serious illnesses that are common in seniors increase risk of pneumonia.
- Seniors are more susceptible to the flu and other lung-related conditions, which sometimes develop into pneumonia.
- Seniors are less likely to be able to produce a strong cough as a result of a stroke or general frailty and coughing helps the body expel things that can harm it, such as the germs that cause pneumonia.
What Is The Treatment For Pneumonia
Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia, how sick the patient is, the patients age, and if they have other health conditions.
Medications used to treat pneumonia include:
- Antibiotics, if the cause is bacterial
- Antivirals, if the cause is viral
In many cases, managing symptoms and resting are sufficient. Home care may include:
- Getting a lot of rest
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Warm beverages can help open airways
- Fever reducers
- Aspirin: Do not give aspirin to children due to the risk of Reyes syndrome
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
For severe cases, patients may need to be hospitalized, and treatment may include:
- Intravenous fluids
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