The 6 Best Tips To Prevent Pneumonia
07 May, 2020
Pneumonia is an infectious disease that affects the respiratory system and normally occurs as a consequence of other conditions like the flu or colds. It can happen at any age, but babies and older adults are more likely to develop it. How can you prevent pneumonia?
Nowadays there are various strategies to keep this disease from appearing. In fact, there are two types of vaccines that reduce the risk, above all in the most vulnerable populations.
In this article, well review other key habits that can protect you from this condition.
Can A 90 Year Old Recover From Pneumonia
When you are caring for a senior with pneumonia , you can expect a recovery time as long as six to eight weeks. This increased recovery time is due to the weakened state of the elderly with the illness and their bodys inability to fight off the bacteria that pneumonia produces in their lungs.
Protect Your Health With These Healthy Living Practices
Avoid people who are sick. If you are sick, stay away from others as much as possible to keep from getting them sick.
You can also help prevent respiratory infections by:
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are touched a lot
- Coughing or sneezing into a tissue or into your elbow or sleeve
- Limiting contact with cigarette smoke or quitting smoking
- Taking good care of medical conditions
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Risk Factor Cause Of Aspiration Pneumonia
A large number of studies of the bacteriology of aspiration pneumonia suggest that the combination of colonization of the oropharynx with bacterial pathogens and microaspiration of saliva containing these bacteria may be the most common source of aspiration pneumonia .
Mylotte reviewed risk factors for pneumonia included poor functional status , difficulties swallowing , dementia and stroke , poor oral hygiene or inadequate oral care , presence of a nasogastric tube , use of sedatives , occurrence of an unusual event defined as confusion, agitation, falls, or wandering , chronic lung disease , tracheostomy , increasing age , and male sex . Mitchell et al. showed that advanced age and significant cognitive impairment increased the risk of aspiration. The most common causes of difficulties in swallowing among the elderly are dementia and stroke .
Logistic regression analyses identified the significant predictors of aspiration pneumonia. The best predictors, in one or more groups of subjects, were dependency for feeding, dependency for oral care, number of decayed teeth, tube feeding, more than one medical diagnosis, number of medications, and smoking . Aspiration pneumonia is a multifactorial phenomenon and no single predictor can cause this disease. Langmore concluded that dysphagia and aspiration are necessary but not sufficient conditions for development of pneumonia.
How Can Seniors Prevent Pneumonia
Excerpt: Older adults are at greater risk of developing pneumonia and its potentially serious complications because their immune systems change with aging. To help prevent pneumonia, get pneumonia and flu shots, wash your hands often, and stay away from people with infectious illnesses. Learn to recognize symptoms, such as coughing with phlegm, fever, fast breathing, chills, and delirium, and see your doctor right away for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Older adults are at greater risk of developing pneumonia and having more severe pneumonia because their immune systems begin to change* as a normal part of aging, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute .
Pneumonia is one of the top 10 reasons Canadians reported going to emergency departments, with about 135,000 pneumonia-related ED visits annually,* says the Canadian Institute for Health Information. For older adults, pneumonia is a leading cause of hospitalization and death,* according to Ryerson Universitys National Institute on Ageing . Older adults account for about 65% of pneumonia-related hospital admissions,* says NIA, and 88% of pneumonia-related deaths occur among seniors,* says Torontos Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
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Top 9 Ways To Reduce The Risk Of Pneumonia If You Or A Loved One Is Hospitalized
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia. Certain people are more likely to get sick with pneumonia including adults 65 years of age or older children younger than 5 years of age people who have medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or asthma and people who smoke cigarettes.
Being in the hospital can place a patient at a higher risk of developing pneumonia because of procedures that disrupt normal breathing, like needing a breathing tube , inactivity, or taking certain medications.
What steps can I take with my healthcare team to prevent pneumonia when Im in the hospital?
1. Clean your hands and make sure that your healthcare providers do the same. Keeping your hands clean is the number one way to prevent the spread of infection. Clean your hands after using the bathroom after sneezing, blowing your nose, or coughing before eating when visiting someone who is sick or whenever your hands are dirty. This applies to visitors too.
3. Wear the right things Healthcare providers should wear gowns, gloves, masks, or face shields when performing certain tasks like suctioning the patients secretions and inserting a breathing tube, and change them after they are soiled with respiratory secretions. Protective coverings keep germs from moving from healthcare providers to patients.
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.
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Support The Immune System
A healthy diet that contains plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins reduces the risk of illness by supporting the immune system. Foods rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, are particularly important to prevent illness. Antioxidant-rich foods include blueberries, citrus fruits, and superfoods like kale and acai berries. Fermented foods, including yogurt with active cultures, also support a healthy immune system.
How To Prevent Pneumonia With Other Methods
Besides vaccines, you can take other measures to prevent pneumonia.
1. Practice Good Hygiene
Our hands touch all types of germs throughout the day. Germs can be picked from computer keyboard, other peoples hands, doorknobs, etc. It is imperative that you take your time to wash your hands, especially before eating or after using the restroom. You can use warm or lukewarm water and wash with soap at least for 30 seconds. In situations where you do not have soap, you can use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
2. Don’t Smoke
Smoking has many adverse side effects which damage the lungs. Smoking makes it difficult for the body to defend itself from germs emanating from various pathogens. If you are a smoker, talk to a doctor and the support groups to leave the habit.
3. Stay Away From Other Sick People
Pneumonia can be easily contracted. If you have a low or weakened immune system, it is essential that you stay away from other sick people. Avoid places that you can pick more germs to lessen the chances of getting pneumonia.
4. Keep Your Immune System Up
A strong immune system is the key in how to prevent pneumonia. Follow these tips to have a strengthened immune system.
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What Is The Outlook For Pneumonia
People who are otherwise healthy often recover quickly when given prompt and proper care. However, pneumonia is a serious condition and can be life-threatening if left untreated and especially for those individuals at increased risk for pneumonia.
Even patients who have been successfully treated and have fully recovered may face long-term health issues. Children who have recovered from pneumonia have an increased risk of chronic lung diseases. Adults may experience:
- General decline in quality of life for months or years
Can Pneumonia Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are many factors that can raise your risk for developing pneumonia. These include:
People who have any of the following conditions are also at increased risk:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- sickle cell disease
You can help prevent pneumonia by doing the following:
- Get the flu vaccine each year. People can develop bacterial pneumonia after a case of the flu. You can reduce this risk by getting the yearly flu shot.
- Get the pneumococcal vaccine. This helps prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Dont smoke. Smoking damages your lungs and makes it harder for your body to defend itself from germs and disease. If you smoke, talk to your family doctor about quitting as soon as possible.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep. These things help your immune system stay strong.
- Avoid sick people. Being around people who are sick increases your risk of catching what they have.
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Avoid Exposure To People Who Are Ill
Most respiratory infections are spread through tiny particles in the air or on the surfaces we touch. Avoiding contact with people that you know are sick is an important step in preventing respiratory infections and possible pneumonia.
If youre in a crowded area or cant avoid being near people who are sick, be sure to:
- wash your hands frequently
- encourage others to cover their cough or sneeze
- avoid sharing personal items
Pneumonia: Etiology And Pathophysiology
Pneumonia is also classified by its physio-pathological mechanism or, if identified, by the etiological pathogen . Jain et al. showed that the presence of influenza and S. pneumoniae was five times higher in pneumonia patients older than 65 years when compared to younger ones, and rhinovirus presence was ten times higher . Obtaining high-quality samples is difficult with older patients and only 6% could provide high-quality sputum . Comprehensive molecular testing performed in nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs is poorly predictive of the presence of pneumonia and proved less sensitive than routine microbiological methods for old patients in a cohort of 199 with a mean age of 83 years . In a review of 33 studies published between January 2005 and July 2012 and focusing on the etiology and treatment of CAP among adults in Europe, Torres et al. concluded that Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and respiratory viruses were the most frequently observed pathogens, and that Mycoplasma pneumoniae was less frequently found among patients65 years old . General hygiene measures as contact and droplet precaution and use of masks are necessary tools to tackle global respiratory infections, among which viral infections .
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Who Is Most At Risk For Getting Pneumonia
People who have an increased risk of pneumonia include:
- People over the age of 65 and infants under age 2. The weakening immune system of older people makes them less able to fight off illnesses. Similarly, the immune system of infants is still developing and not at full-strength, making them more susceptible to infection.
- People with a health-caused weakened immune system. Examples include:
- People who are receiving chemotherapy
- Transplanted organ recipients
- People who have HIV/AIDS
- People with autoimmune disease and who are taking medications that suppress the immune system.
How Do You Prevent Liquid Aspiration
Aspiration prevention tips
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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.
Ways Seniors Can Help Prevent Pneumonia
World Pneumonia Day is held each year on November 12 to raise awareness of pneumonia, promote prevention and treatment, and generate action to fight the illness. Pneumonia is a leading cause of death and hospitalization in seniors and in people with long-term chronic diseases, according to the Canadian Lung Association. In fact, more people die from pneumonia each year than from car accidents, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to lower your risk of getting pneumonia. Knowing why older adults are more susceptible to pneumonia can help you take appropriate steps to prevent the illness.
Older adults often have more difficulty clearing bacterial secretions from their lungs and avoiding infection, according to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Our immune systems weaken as we age and some seniors may have a harder time fighting off infections. Older adults are also more likely to have chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, COPD or dementia that put them at higher risk of developing pneumonia.
Tips to lower your risk
2. Get your annual flu shot. Its the best way to protect against the flu and is especially important for older adults, who are at higher risk for flu complications, which include pneumonia, says the CDC.
3. Wash your hands often. This helps prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria that may cause pneumonia.
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How To Prevent Pneumonia In Aging Populations
Pneumonia. It sounds serious, and it is.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , annually, pneumococcal pneumonia affects about 900,000 Americans, leads to 400,000 hospitalizations and causes death in five to seven percent of those affected. Adults account for the majority of these numbers.
And among the elder populations, the risks of pneumococcal pneumonia are much higher. It is one of the main causes of hospitalization in seniors ages 65 and older.
Dr. Ailis Marrero, MD, family medicine physician at AdventHealth Medical Group, Connerton Family Medicine in Land O Lakes, explains, Chronic conditions, frailty, weakened immune systems and group living environments such as assisted living or nursing homes put our seniors at a higher risk for pneumonia, which can severely impact their health. So, it’s important to know pneumonia risks and warning signs in aging populations, and take proven steps to prevent it.
The good news is that everyone can do something. So, keep reading on.
Preventing Aspiration In Older Adults With Dysphagia
Issue #20 of General Assessment Series
WHY: Aspiration is common in older adults with dysphagia and can lead to aspiration pneumonia. In fact, the risk of pneumonia is three times higher in patients with dysphagia . Other harmful sequelae of dysphagia include malnutrition and dehydration . Dysphagia is a significant predictor of worse clinical outcomes in hospitalized patients with dementia .
TARGET POPULATION: Dysphagia is common in persons with neurologic diseases such as stroke, Parkinsons disease, and dementia. The older adult with one of these conditions is at even greater risk for aspiration because the dysphagia is superimposed on the slowed swallowing rate associated with normal aging. Conditions that suppress the cough reflex further increase the risk for aspiration.
BEST PRACTICES: ASSESSMENT AND PREVENTION ASSESSMENT: A multidisciplinary approach to identify dysphagic patients is important . While dysphagia screening by nurses does not replace assessment by other health professionals, it enhances the provision of care to at-risk patients by allowing for early recognition and intervention . Assessment may begin at the bedside, using a variety of tools. Most swallow screens use varying volumes of water to assess the ability to swallow . For more specific swallowing assessments, fiberoptic endoscopy of swallowing or videofluoroscopy may be used .
Clinical Symptoms of Aspiration:
- A voice change after swallowing.
- Pocketing of food on one side of the mouth.
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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