Friday, September 22, 2023

Treatment For Pneumonia In Elderly

Drink A Cup Of Coffee

Pneumonia and the Elderly

Drinking a cup of coffee may also help relieve shortness of breath. Caffeine may help widen the airways, and a 2021 review even suggested that consuming it could help soothe some COVID-19 symptoms and work against SARS-CoV-2.

Caffeines half-life is 3-5 hours, meaning that your body gets rid of half the caffeine content in this time. If caffeine helps to widen your airways, this is the amount of time its likely to have its most noticeable effects.

Chest pain may come on suddenly or over the course of several days. You should expect some chest pain or ache if you get pneumonia. With treatment, any chest pain typically subsides within 4 weeks.

Not All Doom And Gloom

Even with the high rates of illness and death throughout the country, experts say were at a much different place in the pandemic compared to previous surges. For starters, the vaccine formulas developed in 2020 continue to hold their ground against new variants like omicron, most notably after a booster dose.

Medical conditions that increase risk for severe COVID-19

  • Cancer
  • Dementia and other neurological conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened immune system
  • Overweight and obesity

This list is not exhaustive but includes many of the chronic conditions that affect older adults.

Recent research out of the United Kingdom shows that protection against death with omicron is about 95 percent in adults 50 and older who are boosted. Similarly, a study led by CDC researchers found that boosters were about 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19associated hospitalizations during the early days of the omicron era.

Its very clear, particularly with omicron, that the third shot adds a huge amount of additional protection, Wachter says especially for older adults. If you’ve had three shots, you have brought your risk down to that of a relatively young, healthy person.

So far about 65 percent of eligible adults aged 65 and older have received their booster dose for adults 50 and older, that number drops to about 56 percent, federal tallies show.

When To See A Gp

See a GP if you have sharp stabbing chest pains when you breathe or other symptoms of pleurisy.

Pleurisy can usually be diagnosed based on your symptoms.

The GP will listen to your chest. A distinctive dry, crunching sound may suggest you have pleurisy.

Further tests may be needed to find out what’s causing pleurisy and how severe it is.

These tests include:

  • a CT scan
  • a biopsy where a small sample of pleural tissue or lung tissue is removed for further testing

Get immediate medical help if you have severe chest pain, particularly if you also have other symptoms, such as coughing up blood, feeling sick or sweating.

Read Also: Can Pneumonia Cause A Collapsed Lung

For Shortness Of Breath

With pneumonia, your breathing may suddenly become rapid and shallow, or this symptom could develop gradually over the course of a few days.

You may even experience breathlessness while youre resting. Your doctor may prescribe medication or inhalers to help. Even as you try the suggestions below, make sure you keep up with your physicians instructions and dosages.

If the following suggestions dont help and your breath becomes even shorter, seek immediate medical care.

How Are Pneumonia Complications Treated

Pneumonia: symptoms in the elderly and treatment

Complications may be more common in pneumonia that starts after stomach contents are inhaled into the lungs, a type of condition called aspiration pneumonia.

Another dangerous variation is necrotizing pneumonia, a bacterial pneumonia that can result from a large number of pathogens, including staphylococcus.

Complicated pneumonias such as these may result in respiratory failure, which requires assisted breathing with a machine called a ventilator.

In rare but severe cases, a pocket of pus called a lung abscess can form inside or around the lung due to causes that include aspiration and bacterial or fungal infections.

If you have complicated pneumonia, you may need to undergo a procedure to drain the lung or remove diseased lung tissue. Your doctor may refer to this procedure as “lung scraping.”

Read Also: Can Being Wet And Cold Cause Pneumonia

How Is Fungal Pneumonia Treated

If the course of the pneumonia is slow and your chest X-ray looks unusual, you may have fungal pneumonia. These conditions can be diagnosed with a blood test that shows your body is making antibodies to the fungus.

More than 10 types of fungi can cause fungal pneumonia, which is more common in people with weakened immune systems.

Several antifungal drugs serve as treatment for pneumonia and can be administered either orally or intravenously.

Apply A Lukewarm Compress Or Take A Lukewarm Bath

Submerging your body in a lukewarm bath might help you bring down your body temperature.

You can also use a lukewarm compress to help cool your body from the outside inward if a bath is not convenient. Although it may be tempting to use a cold compress, the sudden temperature shift can cause chills. A lukewarm compress provides a more gradual, comfortable temperature change.

Chills may come on before or during a fever. They typically subside after your fever breaks. This may last up to a week, depending on when you begin treatment for pneumonia.

Read Also: How To Know If I Have Pneumonia

End Of Life Care Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs that affects alveoli and consolidation . Pneumonia is a common disease that will seriously affect the morbidity and mortality of the elderly. Pneumonia is usually a terminal event that complicates long-term conditions . Anyone can get pneumonia, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Older people may be more susceptible to pneumonia and encountering serious complications. Because of these higher risks, caregivers need to recognize the early symptoms of pneumonia in the elderly.

Elderly patients will have some clinical problems, which must be considered when deciding the best care environment: delirium, hypoxic respiratory failure and severe sepsis. The assessment of the severity of the disease helps determine the best care environment. Patients with dementia often get pneumonia and often die from pneumonia, which is associated with high levels of discomfort.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia In The Elderly

Why recovering from pneumonia is an uphill battle for 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.

Also Check: How Often Should I Have Pneumonia Vaccine

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • I have a chronic condition. Am I at higher risk for pneumonia?
  • Do I have bacterial, viral, or fungal pneumonia? Whats the best treatment?
  • Am I contagious?
  • How serious is my pneumonia? Will I need to be hospitalized?
  • What can I do at home to help relieve my symptoms?
  • What are the possible complications of pneumonia? How will I know if Im developing complications?
  • What should I do if my symptoms dont respond to treatment or get worse?
  • Do we need to schedule a follow-up exam?
  • Do I need any vaccines?

What Is Walking Pneumonia

Walking pneumonia is a mild case of pneumonia. It is often caused by a virus or the mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria. When you have walking pneumonia, your symptoms may not be as severe or last as long as someone who has a more serious case of pneumonia. You probably wont need bed rest or to stay in the hospital when you have walking pneumonia.

Read Also: Flu Shot And Pneumonia Shot In Same Arm

Physical And Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Hospital admission is considered a health risk for elderly patients with AP. Bed rest in the acute phase induces muscle loss, mobility decline, and activities of daily living decline . Hospitalizationassociated disability can lead to cognitive disorders, other complications, extension of hospitalization, difficulty in returning home, quality of life decline, and death. Yagi et al. showed that 71% of elderly AP patients with hospitalizationassociated disability did not have improved ADL scores during hospitalization. However, the study showed that early rehabilitation improved ADL significantly . Early rehabilitation might prevent ADL decline during hospitalization in patients with AP. Furthermore, Kim et al. showed that hospitalbased physical therapy helps to reduce the 30 days hospital readmission rate of acutely ill older adults with pneumonia and declining physical function.

In pulmonary rehabilitation for acute patients with AP, positioning, postural drainage, sputum elimination assistance, respiration training guidance, and rangeofmotion exercises of the upper limbs are conducted. These programs have the potential to decrease risk of mortality. We reported that early rehabilitation, including pulmonary rehabilitation for acute patients with AP, was associated with a reduction in 30 days inhospital mortality using a nationwide administrative database. Our analysis showed that the early rehabilitation group had a significantly lower inhospital mortality rate .

Symptoms Are All Over The Map

Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Elderly: Diagnosis and Treatment

If omicron isnt necessarily mild, what is it? Robert Wachter, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, describes the symptoms of the new variant as all over the map.

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For most vaccinated and boosted adults about 86 million Americans an omicron infection may produce some sniffles, a mild cough or a sore throat. Feeling flu-like for a few days is another common outcome so is having no symptoms at all.

The better vaccinated you are, the more likely you are to have a very mild case, Wachter says. But thats part of the challenge when it comes to some older adults whose level of reserve is less, he says. A flu-like illness might sideline a healthy 40-year-old for a few days, but for someone who is older and frailer, it could trigger a loss of appetite or a state of delirium that spirals into something more serious.

It might be enough to tip them over, Wachter says about an otherwise mild infection. And that’s true of COVID, and it’s true for urinary tract infections, and its true for skin infections.

Read Also: Community Acquired Pneumonia Moderate Risk

Balancing Caution With Connectedness Is Key For Older Adults

As the omicron wave crests and infections fall, Wachter predicts that one of the biggest challenges for older adults particularly those who have been in hunker-down mode for two years will be trying to decide when its safe to resume a more normal state of life.

Were not there yet, because the case rates are still quite high, he says. But hes hopeful that in several more weeks, people who are vaccinated and boosted can feel better about visiting with family and traveling for pleasure, depending on their individual risks and comfort levels.

In the meantime, dont get complacent, Lachs says. Make sure youre up to date on your vaccines, upgrade your mask to a well-fitted respirator like an N95, and if you have access to at-home tests , swab your nose before socializing with others. Also, if you are immunocompromised, talk to your doctor about a monoclonal antibody therapy that may help prevent a coronavirus infection.

If I were in a high-risk group, I would button up for the next two to three weeks. Let this blow through, and then hopefully by mid-February or March, this will be past us and you can kind of start returning to normal life, Wortmann says.

Its also important to balance vigilance with your mental and emotional health staying connected with others until omicron abates can help.

More on Coronavirus

How To Prevent Pneumonia In Elderly Loved Ones

The key to preventing complications like sepsis is preventing infections like pneumonia from occurring in the first place. Since influenza predisposes elderly people to pneumonia, the number of cases tends to spike during flu season. Dr. Schaffner recommends that all people over age 65 get an annual flu shot as well as a pneumococcal vaccine. This one-time shot protects against the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.

Caregivers and other family members should also be vaccinated to avoid getting sick themselves and passing the illness to their loved ones. The CDC recommends that anyone who has prolonged contact with an elderly person should get vaccinated, urges Dr. Schaffner.

In addition to staying current with vaccines, a healthy lifestyle plays a critical role in preventing pneumonia. Quitting smoking, practicing good oral hygiene, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight through a nutritious diet can all help boost a seniors immune system and stave off diseases. Of course, good hand-washing habits are another strong defense.

It is important for family caregivers to educate themselves on pneumonia and other medical conditions that commonly affect seniors. This information will give you added peace of mind that you are doing as much as you can to keep your loved one healthy.

Also Check: How Can I Treat Pneumonia At Home

Pneumonia In The Elderly: A Guide For Cdpap Caregivers

Pneumonia can quickly become a life-threatening condition in the elderly. If you are a Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program operating through the Medicaid program, itâs important to understand the signs of pneumonia and what you can do to help a sick person get better more quickly.

Below, we discuss what the disease entails, how itâs treated, and what patients need from their doctors and caregivers.

Precautions For Drug Selection

Elderly and Pneumonia

Long-acting pharmaceutical preparations should not be used to control rapidly developing symptoms.

If death is approaching and the patient has already taken a stable dose of transdermal fentanyl, he should continue using it and adding additional short-acting opioids to increase comfort. Morphine and hydromorphone are listed as opioids because they are generally available and can be used in a variety of ways.

Read Also: How Can You Tell When You Have Pneumonia

Which Vaccines Should Be Administered To Elderly Patients In Order To Prevent Cap

Vaccination remains the primary preventive strategy for CAP in the elderly. Guidelines recommend immunization against both influenza virus and S. pneumoniae in patients above the age of 65. Nevertheless, both vaccinations are substantially underused in this vulnerable population.

Recent meta-analyses provide evidence supporting the recommendation of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine to prevent invasive pneumococcal disease in adults, but, with regard to adults with chronic illness, do not find compelling evidence to support the routine use of PPV to prevent all-cause pneumonia or mortality . However, the 23-valent vaccine prevented pneumococcal pneumonia and reduced mortality due to pneumococcal pneumonia in nursing-home residents in a randomized trial . Moreover, in a matched casecontrol study in patients aged 65 years and hospitalized with CAP, Domínguez and colleagues found an effectiveness of 23.6% for the PPV for preventing hospitalizations due to pneumonia .

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.

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Is There A Vaccine For Pneumonia

There isnt a vaccine for all types of pneumonia, but 2 vaccines are available. These help prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. The first is recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age. The second is recommended for anyone age 2 or older who is at increased risk for pneumonia. Getting the pneumonia vaccine is especially important if you:

  • Are 65 years of age or older.
  • Smoke.
  • Have certain chronic conditions, such as asthma, lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell disease, or cirrhosis.
  • Have a weakened immune system because of HIV/AIDS, kidney failure, a damaged or removed spleen, a recent organ transplant, or receiving chemotherapy.
  • Have cochlear implants .

The pneumococcal vaccines cant prevent all cases of pneumonia. But they can make it less likely that people who are at risk will experience the severe, and possibly life-threatening, complications of pneumonia.

What Causes Older People To Get Pneumonia

Elderly Pneumonia: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment &  Prevention

Usually, people get pneumonia from someone close to them. For this reason, pneumonia in nursing homes can be very dangerous. Not only do people in nursing homes live close together, but they are also likely to have underlying conditions and be physically inactive.

Older people can also get pneumonia from hospitals or extended stays in medical facilities. Both of these environments are full of germs and strains of pneumonia that may be more difficult to treat with antibiotics.

Usually, when elderly people go to the hospital, the organisms that cause pneumonia are Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Streptococcus pneumoniae usually happens on its own after you have a cold or the flu. Mycoplasma pneumoniae, or walking pneumonia, is a milder strain of pneumonia that doesn’t usually require bed rest.

Pneumonia can be caused by fungi. This is a type of pneumonia that older people should be particularly careful of. It primarily affects people with chronic health issues. It comes from inhaling certain kinds of fungi in the soil or bird droppings.

Older people should be aware that viruses, such as the one that causes COVID-19, can also cause pneumonia. Other viruses that cause colds and the flu are also in this category. In most cases, viral pneumonia is mild, but it can become serious.


Often, the symptoms of pneumonia are similar to a cold. The signs can include:

Read Also: How Long For Lungs To Heal After Pneumonia

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