Pneumonia can become very serious among seniors. It’s a respiratory condition that can cause various symptoms like fatigue, chills, and shortness of breath. Several factors, including age, affect how serious the symptoms are. So, seniors must know how to get rid of pneumonia. As with other conditions, a lower immune system and related factors can affect how quickly seniors can recover from this illness. The good news is there are several steps to take so 65+ year-olds can deal with the health condition effectively. As always, it’s important to know the main symptoms and available treatments to deal with the condition quickly and effectively.
Several factors affect how soon a senior can recover from pneumonia. They include their overall health and how quickly they receive medical treatment. This involves knowing the main pneumonia symptoms in the elderly. This can help to provide an early diagnosis so the person can receive the right treatment at the earliest time possible. This can be tough because pneumonia involves 50+ breathing illnesses involving the lungs. So, it’s critical to get medical attention if you or a senior loved one shows various signs that they might be suffering from pneumonia.
What Exactly Is Pneumonia?
This term refers to dozens of respiratory sicknesses that affect the lungs’ alveoli (air sacs). Several things can cause these illnesses to develop including:
Here’s what happens. After one of the “irritants” can get past the body’s system of natural defenses an infection shows up deep in the lungs. The body then tries to fight off the infection by giving off white blood cells. This causes the lungs to get filled up with fluids. Many people refer to the fluid and symptoms it causes as “pneumonia.”
The most common type of pneumonia is caused by viruses but in some cases, it doesn’t cause the most serious symptoms. The illness often develops after people already have another breathing problem. Sometimes when people cough viruses get back into the lungs and trigger a new infection.
Pneumonia patients might experience a slow development of symptoms. They include constant coughing, fever, nausea, and fever. Several doctors recommend treating the illness so the body’s natural defense can fight it off. However, sometimes hospital treatments are needed.
Bacteria is another form of breathing illness that makes up to one-quarter of all cases. They include environments like public areas in the winter season or hospital areas. The symptoms of this type of pneumonia develop faster. In the first couple of hours, the patient might experience painful breathing and sudden fever. Antibiotics are a common type of early treatment.
This type of pneumonia can be very serious for certain groups, like seniors and infants/toddlers. In some cases, hospital patients develop this kind of pneumonia from breathing machines.
Other patients get the illness by breathing in substances like chemicals. This might happen after the chemical gets to the lung’s air sacs. This results in lung tissue getting destroyed. it’s important to clear out the lungs quickly after a person gets “chemical pneumonia.” People who work around strong chemicals often experience this condition.
Pneumonia and the Elderly
Seniors should watch out for various pneumonia symptoms including:
- Pain in chest/ribs
- Shortness of breath
- Low body temperature
- Phlegm-producing cough
One caveat is that these symptoms can be related to other illnesses of 65+-year-olds including the cold/flu or normal signs of aging. However, it’s important to get it checked out to find out what’s wrong. If an elderly person is showing possible signs of pneumonia then it’s critical to get medical treatment as soon as possible.
people of any age can contact bacteria/viruses/chemicals that trigger pneumonia. However, it’s more common for seniors to experience serious cases of the illness. There are various reasons for this situation. One is that people’s immune systems weaken over time so it’s tougher for them to fight off infections.
Another factor is the elderly are more likely to experience various lung-related health conditions like the flu. Sometimes they get these conditions then it develops into pneumonia. So, it’s critical to watch out for these other illnesses that might not seem serious at first.
Seniors can also have other serious illnesses like diabetes or heart disease that can boost their chance of getting pneumonia. If you or a senior you know has these illnesses it’s important to monitor their health since they’re more likely to experience this breathing condition.
Another factor is seniors often can’t make a powerful cough due to general weakness or past stroke. This can make it tougher for them to get rid of bacteria/viruses/chemicals that could trigger lung illness. Coughing is part of the body’s natural defense system that helps it get rid of such dangerous substances.
These are all factors that make seniors more likely to experience serious cases of pneumonia. So, it’s important to be on the safe side and get a check-up if they show signs of the illness.
How to Get Rid of Pneumonia in Seniors
After a doctor gives the senior a checkup, they might order certain blood tests or CT scans if they think the person has pneumonia. this allows him/her to check signs of the illness in the patient’s blood and lungs.
The types of treatments seniors receive is based on the cause of the illness. For example, if it results from bacteria/viruses then treatments usually involve healthy food, fluids, rest, and medicines to deal with pain, fever, viruses, etc.
Meanwhile, if the cause is bacteria then antibiotics are prescribed. It’s important to take the full amount of antibiotics the doctor prescribes. This can help to prevent the forming of drug-resistant bacteria. This will make the treatments less effective.
in most cases, seniors receive home treatments for the lung condition. However, a relatively large percentage of those who live in situations like healthcare facilities must receive hospital treatments. That’s due to oxygen therapy to improve breathing.
Seniors have a good chance of recovering from pneumonia. Various factors affect recovery time. They include the bacteria/viruses that caused the illness. Other factors include their general health and other health conditions they have. In most cases, seniors can recover from pneumonia within three weeks although it might take more time.
One potential issue is sometimes pneumonia that is ‘cured” actually returns. It’s important to watch out for new/worse symptoms and if you observe them report them to the patient’s doctor ASAP.
It’s also possible for the elderly to take steps to help prevent the lung condition from the get-go. They include:
- Get pneumonia vaccines
- Live a healthy lifestyle
- Keep the house clean
- Avoid people with cold/flu
- Maintain clean teeth
- Wash hands at least 10x daily
Nothing in life is 100% so there’s still a chance seniors could get pneumonia after taking these steps. However, it’s best to take steps to minimize the need to learn how to get rid of pneumonia.