Would you be able to tell if your elderly relative has developed pneumonia?
The lung infection is responsible for millions of hospital visits each year as well as thousands of deaths. Seniors are a high-risk group that can develop serious complications from pneumonia, so it’s a good idea to learn more about the symptoms and treatments of the illness.
Symptoms of Pneumonia in Seniors
If you, other family members or home care providers suspect your aging loved one has pneumonia, you must get them much-need medical attention right away. Here are some of the symptoms to look for that can lead you to suspect your elderly relative may be battling with pneumonia:
-Coughing: When the air sacs in the lungs are inflamed, it leads to persistent coughing. Often, these coughs are described as “wet” because they bring up phlegm. In many instances, the coughs are so persistent that seniors can develop muscle aches, a sore throat, and even chest pains because of them.
-Wheezing and Gurgling: As the lungs fill with fluid, it can be hard for seniors to breathe. As they struggle to get a deep breath, you can often hear wheezing or gurgling from the chest cavity. To avoid the tightness and wheezing, many seniors take shallow breaths when they are developing pneumonia.
-Fatigue: As the body puts all of its energy into fighting pneumonia, it often leaves seniors feeling extremely fatigued. They may sleep longer and have little energy to do basic daily tasks. When fatigue is present with these other symptoms, you can almost be sure that pneumonia is the cause.
-Fever and Chills: This common symptom is usually a sure sign of infection in the body, and since pneumonia is an infection of the lungs it’s a big clue that the aging adult is having health issues. In general, the fevers will be low grade, but high fevers are definitely possible.
Pneumonia Treatments in Aging Adults
Treating pneumonia aggressively is the best way for elderly adults to overcome it. When the doctor diagnoses the condition, they will insist that powerful antibiotics are quite necessary. The doctor will also recommend rest, fluids and breathing treatments as necessary. As with most health issues, early detection and treatment will give the best results for recovery. Depending on the severity of the infection and the aging adult’s health overall, the doctor may recommend a hospital stay for monitoring.
Elderly adults should not be left alone if they are fighting pneumonia. It’s hard enough for them to remain alone when they are dealing with typical age-related health issues. With pneumonia, they need family caregivers and home care providers to take care of them. From healthy meals to help in the bathroom, family caregivers and home care providers must do whatever they can to facilitate a full recovery from pneumonia.