Friday, May 26, 2023

What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia In The Elderly

Fluid Within The Lungs

Pneumonia in the Elderly

Bacterial, Fungal, parasitic, and viral infections can all lead to a buildup of fluid in the lungs. Streptococcus pneumonia is a bacterium that causes most of the bacterial pneumonia cases even though there are other causes.

Anything which leads to the inflammation, as well as the accumulation of fluid within, can be considered as a pneumonia origin.

Keep The Home Mould Free And Clean

A seniors home should be clean in all aspects. Ventilation is also very important. Ensure there is adequate fresh air circulating within the home. A senior person may require some extra help with cleaning their homes regularly due to differences in capabilities that they may be having.

Any mildew, mould, or musty smell needs remedying after careful examination. Stay alert for any changes that could come suddenly. Also, look out for the onset of confusion and fatigue in an elderly person. If an older person gets sick, get them medical care as early as possible and follow up so that you can confirm that the recovery is normal.

How Is Pneumonia Spread From Person To Person

Pneumonia is spread when droplets of fluid containing the pneumonia bacteria or virus are launched in the air when someone coughs or sneezes and then inhaled by others. You can also get pneumonia from touching an object previously touched by the person with pneumonia or touching a tissue used by the infected person and then touching your mouth or nose.

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Personal Alarms From Careline365

Sometimes our loved ones need extra peace of mind at home. They may be worried about developing pneumonia symptoms, or just have concerns about falls in the home. When this is the case, it may be worth investing in a personal alarm from Careline365.

To find out more about our alarm service, check out our alarm guide. If you would like to find out more, you can get in touch with us using our simple form, or you can call us on .

Early Warning Signs Of Pneumonia In A Senior

Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Elderly: Diagnosis and Treatment

While there is no single cause for pneumonia, advanced age is considered to be a top a risk factor for this serious health problem. Confusion and/or delirium are red-flag signs of pneumonia in elderly people as well as lower-than-normal body temperatures. Other signs, which can sometimes be confused with a cold and the flu, include:

  • Chest pain during breathing or coughing
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath

While it can be hard for family members to spot these signs, professional in-home care providers are trained to monitor and track pneumonia symptoms in adults.

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Bacterial Pneumonia And Bacteria

The most common form of bacterial pneumonia in the U.S. is Streptococcus pneumonia. It can happen singularly or in combination with the flu or a cold. Bacterial pneumonia that affects only one lobe of the lung is called lobar pneumonia.

Mycoplasma pneumonia is a bacteria-like affliction that leads to pneumonia, usually in a mild form. Young people who suffer from mycoplasma often do not require bed rest, but it is advisable that elderly individuals take greater care and receive enough rest and medication to combat the disease.

What Can I Do To Feel Better If I Have Pneumonia

  • Finish all medications and therapies prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking antibiotics when you start feeling better. Continue taking them until no pills remain. If you dont take all your antibiotics, your pneumonia may come back.
  • If over-the-counter medicines to reduce fever have been recommended , take as directed on the label. Never give aspirin to children.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen phlegm.
  • Quit smoking if you smoke. Dont be around others who smoke or vape. Surround yourself with as much clean, chemical-free air as possible.
  • Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or bath to make it easier for you to breathe.
  • Get lots of rest. Dont rush your recovery. It can take weeks to get your full strength back.

If at any time you start to feel worse, call your doctor right away.

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How To Diagnose Pneumonia In The Elderly

There are tests that can be done to tell if an elderly person has pneumonia. The doctor can simply listen to the individual’s lungs for rattling sounds and rales that are typical of pneumonia and lung inflammation. A chest x-ray or CT scan will show areas of pneumonia, called consolidation. A pulse oximetry test checks for the level of oxygen in the system, which tends to be lower if the person has pneumonia. In some cases, the mucus or blood can be cultured to identify the specific organism that is causing the pneumonia.

Ways To Prevent Pneumonia

Why recovering from pneumonia is an uphill battle for the elderly

Pneumonia can originate from bacteria, viruses and other causes, but regardless of the cause of infection, it is one of the most common illnesses in older adults. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that more than 60% of seniors over 65 are admitted to hospitals due to pneumonia.

Follow these five steps to prevent pneumonia in an older loved one as the season gets colder and wetter this year:

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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.

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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Pneumonia Complications That Are Serious For Seniors

Medically reviewed by Dr. Nick Rosen, MD on February 1st, 2021

Pneumonia is a lung infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs, causing troubled breathing, fever, cough, chest pain, and other uncomfortable symptoms. While most people are aware of this infection, many dont realize that pneumonia is quite common and one of the leading causes of hospitalizations in Americaespecially for seniors. An early diagnosis and prompt treatment could mean the difference between a hospitalized recovery or at-home recovery. In any scenario, mild to severe pneumonia complications can happen and should never be discounted. For older adults, the risk of experiencing serious complications with pneumonia is much higher. With that in mind, here are a few dangerous pneumonia complications that seniors should be aware of:

What Other Treatments May Be Recommended

Community Acquired Pneumonia in Children

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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What Are Some Symptoms Of Pneumonia

Symptoms of pneumonia may seem similar to that of the flu, but they tend to last longer and be noticeably more aggressive. However, if you’re older, it’s essential to seek treatment right away to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. You should make an appointment to be evaluated by one of our specialists if you or a loved one is experiencing one of the following

  • Coughing that produces green or yellow fluid such as phlegm
  • Lack of energy and confusion
  • A sudden spike in fever accompanied by chills
  • Abnormally low body temperature
  • Shortness of breath/ difficulty breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

It is important to carefully monitor people who belong to at-risk groups for pneumonia due to a weakened immune system, age, or a chronic or acute condition. Receiving proper care in a timely matter is vital to fighting the infection before it becomes life-threatening.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Children

The signs and symptoms of pneumonia in children vary from child to child and also depend on your childs age, cause of the infection, and severity of their illness.

Usual symptoms include:

  • Cry more than usual. Are restless or more fussy.

Adolescents have the same symptoms as adults, including:

  • Cough.
  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain.

Newborns are at greater risk of pneumonia caused by bacteria present in the birth canal. In young children, viruses are the main cause of pneumonia.

Pneumonia caused by bacteria tends to happen suddenly, starting with fever and fast breathing. Symptoms appear more slowly and tend to be less severe when pneumonia is caused by viruses.

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How Serious Is Pneumonia In Older Adults

Adults 65 and older are more susceptible to pneumonia than younger people are. Seniors with pneumonia are also at increased risk for hospitalization, complications, and death.

Pneumonia in elderly adults can often be serious and progress quickly. In fact, pneumonia is the second leading cause for hospitalization of Medicare beneficiaries, and most of the people who die from pneumonia each year are elderly adults, according to the American Lung Association . The death rate among elderly adults with severe pneumonia is as high as 20%.

Researchers and doctors dont fully understand why pneumonia is more aggressive in seniors. They believe it has to do with the normal aging process, which weakens the immune system and decreases lung function. Older adults also often have other underlying health conditions that can make pneumonia more severe, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , and heart disease.

Caring For Seniors With Pneumonia

Knowing the signs and symptoms of pneumonia

If your loved one has been diagnosed with pneumonia, there are ways you can give them a better chance at regaining their health. Elderly people in particular will need a managed environment thatâs kept safe from stressors and anything that might make their condition worse

Here are some of the things CDPAP caregivers will need to do if a loved one has pneumonia:

Monitor symptoms closely

Regardless of whether a patient is at home or temporarily in a healthcare facility, if you are the one who sees them the most often, you will usually be the first to notice any change in their symptoms. Monitor coughs and breathing closely in case a doctor needs to be alerted.

Provide transportation to medical appointments and prescription pick ups

Those suffering from pneumonia, particularly the elderly, should not operate a motor vehicle on their own.

Assist with household chores

Many caregivers do this anyway, but itâs particularly important to deep clean the homes of elderly pneumonia patients to be sure bacteria and viruses are killed and fungus doesnât make it way into the house. Houses should also be rid of all cigarette smoke and other air pollutants that can compromise breathing.

Administer medication

It will often be up to a caregiver to set a medication schedule and make sure a patient sticks to it. This is very important in the event a patient is given antibiotics.

Manage mealtime

Manage oral hygiene

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Pneumonia Symptoms In Elders

Pneumonia is an infection of your lungs. There can be swelling or fluid in the air sacs. This can cause trouble with breathing as well as affect energy levels and overall health.

If your loved one is sick, the signs of pneumonia include:

  • Cough. Look out for a cough that does not clear up. Some types of pneumonia lead to mucus build-up in the lungs. This can cause one to cough up a greenish, yellow or even bloody substance.
  • Fever . Most people with pneumonia will have a fever. However, it is not unusual for people over 65 and a weak immune system to have a cooler body temperature instead of a fever.
  • Chest pain. The infection in the lungs can cause pain when breathing or coughing. This can feel like a sharp stabbing pain in the chest with deep breathing or coughing.
  • Fatigue. Fighting off an infection saps the body of energy. Your loved one may feel exhausted and depleted.
  • Confusion. Exhaustion and infection can lead to temporary confusion and slips in mental awareness. This is often seen in the elderly.
  • Shortness of breath. The air sacs in the lungs can fill with fluid or pus. This causes a cough but also difficulty breathing. You will especially notice this when your loved one needs to move quickly. For example, trying to rush to answer the phone or climbing stairs.
  • How Common Is Pneumonia

    Approximately 1 million adults in the United States are hospitalized each year for pneumonia and 50,000 die from the disease. It is the second most common reason for being admitted to the hospital — childbirth is number one. Pneumonia is the most common reason children are admitted to the hospital in the United States. Seniors who are hospitalized for pneumonia face a higher risk of death compared to any of the top 10 other reasons for hospitalization.

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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.

    Caring For An Elderly Person With Pneumonia

    What are the symptoms of pneumonia in the elderly?

    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.

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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.

    Why Are Hospitals More Risky For Developing Pneumonia

    The biggest reason seniors are at higher risk of developing pneumonia in hospitals is because of spending too much time in bed. They may also have more difficulty with deep breathing due to pain, fatigue, medications or surgical incisions.

    The simplest way for a senior to reduce the risk of developing pneumonia in the hospital is to GET OUT OF BED.

    Getting seniors up into a chair, walking, moving to and from the bathroom and completing any functional activity such as getting dressed or grooming at the sink will be beneficial. Being in an upright posture allows the senior’s lungs to expand more easily and makes it easy to cough and clear those lungs.

    If your elderly parent does develop pneumonia while in the hospital, they may be given an incentive spirometer. This is a small plastic device designed to help take deep breaths. Encourage your loved one to use it often.

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