How Can I Strengthen My Lungs To Prevent Pneumonia
Tips for keeping your lungs healthy Stop smoking, and avoid secondhand smoke or environmental irritants. Eat foods rich in antioxidants. Get vaccinations like the flu vaccine and the pneumonia vaccine. Exercise more frequently, which can help your lungs function properly. Improve indoor air quality.
When Would I Need To Be Hospitalized For Pneumonia
If your case of pneumonia is more severe, you may need tostay in the hospital for treatment. Hospital treatments may include:
- Fluids, antibiotics and other medicines given through an IV
- Breathing treatments and exercises to help loosen mucus
People most likely to be hospitalized are those who are most frail and/or at increased risk, including:
- Babies and young children
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with health conditions that affect the heart and lungs
It may take six to eight weeks to return to a normal level of functioning and well-being if youve been hospitalized with pneumonia.
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Home Care And Recovery
How long does it take to recover from pneumonia in the elderly? You can expect a recovery time as long as six to eight weeks. Its longer than recovery time for younger people since its harder for seniors to fight off the bacteria that pneumonia produces in their lungs.
By catching the disease early, you reduce the downtime for the disease. Another thing that affects pneumonia in elderly recovery time is the quality of home care. It involves homemaking assistance, which gives the person plenty of rest in order to avoid relapse, helping them build immunity .
If youre interested in more information about how in-home care can help your elderly loved ones, contact All American Home Care. We provide needed medical assistance to help in recovery from pneumonia in the elderly and enjoy a higher quality of life.
How Is Walking Pneumonia Treated
Walking pneumonia is usually mild, does not require hospitalization and is treated with antibiotics . Several types of antibiotics are effective. Antibiotics that are used to treat walking pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae include:
- Macrolide antibiotics: Macrolide drugs are the preferred treatment for children and adults. Macrolides include azithromycin and clarithromycin . Over the past decade, some strains of Mycoplasma pneumoniae have become resistant to macrolide antibiotics, possibly due to the widespread use of azithromycin to treat various illnesses.
- Fluoroquinolones: These drugs include ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin . Fluoroquinolones are not recommended for young children.
- Tetracyclines: This group includes doxycycline and tetracycline. They are suitable for adults and older children.
Often, over-the-counter medications can also be taken to help relieve symptoms of nasal congestion, cough and loosen mucus buildup in the chest. If you have a fever:
- Drink more fluids
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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.
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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.
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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What Causes Pneumonia In Elderly Adults
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other organisms. In the U.S., pneumonia in the elderly is usually caused by bacteria or a virus.
Pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common type of bacterial pneumonia, affecting more than 900,000 Americans each year, according to the ALA. This type of pneumonia is caused by a germ called Streptococcus pneumoniae. It can occur on its own or after someone has a cold or the flu.
These groups are at increased risk for bacterial pneumonia:
- Adults 65 and older
- People with a weakened immune system
- Patients recovering from surgery
- People with other respiratory conditions or viral infections
Viruses can also cause pneumonia. The influenza virus is the most common cause of viral pneumonia in adults. Pneumonia caused by the influenza virus can be severe and even deadly, especially in people with other health conditions such as heart or lung disease.
Coronavirus disease 2019 can also cause a severe type of double pneumonia that may lead to long-lasting lung damage. It may take several months to recover. Pneumonia associated with COVID-19 can sometimes be fatal, especially in high-risk populations like elderly adults.
Tips On Preventing Pneumonia In Older Adults
What else can you do other than watch out for symptoms of pneumonia in the elderly? Here are our recommendations for pneumonia prevention:
- Get vaccinated There are two vaccines that help prevent pneumococcal disease, and both vaccines are safe and effective. Have a discussion with your doctor about getting immunized and review your vaccination status with them to make sure youre up to date.
- Practice good personal hygiene The best way to get rid of germs in most situations is by washing your hands with soap and water. If those are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. These simple precautions go a long way.
- Quit smoking Smoking causes significant changes in your lungs and airways. It leads to lung defenses becoming compromised, which makes people more susceptible to catching the disease. The risk increases according to the intensity of smoking, but its best not to do overall.
- Always finish a course of antibiotics Even if you feel better, finish a prescribed course of antibiotics . If patients stop taking medication before theyre told to, the bacteria can become resistant to the antibiotic.
- Strengthen the immune system A weakened immune system makes people prone to infections from germs that do not often cause disease in healthy people. Get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet.
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Can An Elderly Person Recover From Aspiration Pneumonia
Recently, the effectiveness of rehabilitative management including physical, pulmonary, and dysphagia rehabilitation for aspiration pneumonia was reported. Several studies showed that early rehabilitation was associated with reduced mortality and early hospital discharge after aspiration pneumonia .
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.
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Treatment For Pneumonia In A Heart Failure Patient: What To Expect
An elderly person with pneumonia, who has pre-existing heart failure, presents a tricky situation to doctors.
My very elderly father, who has congestive heart failure, was diagnosed with pneumonia at an urgent care center. The doctor wanted him admitted to a hospital.
When my mother was diagnosed with pneumonia for the first time at an elderly age, she too, had congestive heart failure, but was not admitted, and instead, sent home with a prescription for antibiotics and recovered.
A few years later she developed pneumonia a second time and was admitted overnight in the observation unit, but discharged the next day with a prescription for antibiotics and recovered.
I anticipated that my father, whose heart was seemingly stronger than my mothers, would be discharged the next day with a prescription for antibiotics.
But he was discharged from the hospital seven days later.
Heres a summary of how the pneumonia treatment went down, due to the pre-existing heart failure.
The pneumonia treatment involved an IV infusion of fluids. Due to the pre-existing heart failure, my father was on Lasix, a diuretic that promotes fluid excrement from the body.
Early on in his admission, my fathers weight went up, which meant unwanted fluid retention.
It was not clear exactly how much of this was being caused by the IV infusion of fluids any fluid buildup in the lungs from the pneumonia or the pre-existing heart failure being worsened by the infection.
Peripheral edema. Shutterstock/AppleDK
Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Elderly: Diagnosis And Treatment
Pneumonia is a serious illness that affects seniors in a way that is radical and different from others. It sees to target seniors because it is so rampant in that age group. It is therefore important to understand as much as you can about pneumonia, its causes, how it can be prevented, and the way seniors contract it so as to get help when the need arises. Pneumonia symptoms in elderly have to be understood so that action can be taken as soon as possible.
Early Signs Of Pneumonia
Some of the first signs of pneumonia that you need to watch out include
- Cough: If the cough does not clear up, then it can be a sign of pneumonia. In some cases, it can lead to a build-up of mucus in the lungs. Besides, this cough can be greenish, yellowish or even a bloody substance in some cases.
- Chest Pain: The infection in the lungs can cause pain while coughing or breathing. Sometimes, deep coughing can cause sharp pain in the chest.
- Fever: In most pneumonia patients, fever is a common sign. However, if you are over 65 years, then you may experience low body temperature too.
- Fatigue: With age, you may already be feeling low on energy. Besides, consistent coughing and fluctuating body temperature can also sap the body energy. So, you may also feel exhausted.
- Shortness of Breath: The air sacs in the lungs get filled with pus, which causes difficulty in breathing. You may notice falling short of breath when you try rushing-up for anything. It can be even walking a little fast to answer a phone call or doorbell.
Along with the above signs, a state of confusion is also common in pneumonia patients. These slips are often due to exhaustion and infection.
What Other Treatments May Be Recommended
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:
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Bacterial Pneumonia In Older Adults
The incidence of pneumonia increases with age, and is particularly high in patients who reside in long-term care facilities . Mortality rates for pneumonia in older adults are high and have not decreased in the last decade. Atypical symptoms and exacerbation of underlying illnesses should trigger clinical suspicion of pneumonia. Risk factors for multidrug-resistant organisms are more common in older adults, particularly among LTCF residents, and should be considered when making empiric treatment decisions. Monitoring of clinical stability and underlying comorbid conditions, potential drugdrug interactions, and drug-related adverse events are important factors in managing elderly patients with pneumonia.
What Other Problems Can Pneumonia Cause
Sometimes pneumonia can cause serious complications such as:
- Bacteremia, which happens when the bacteria move into the bloodstream. It is serious and can lead to .
- Lung abscesses, which are collections of pus in cavities of the lungs
- Pleural disorders, which are conditions that affect the pleura. The pleura is the tissue that covers the outside of the lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity.
- Respiratory failure
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Whats The Treatment Like For Pneumonia In Older Adults
Some cases of pneumonia in older adults can be treated at home. However, depending on your symptoms and overall health, its also possible that you may be hospitalized.
Antibiotics are used to treat pneumonia thats caused by bacteria. The types of antibiotics used can depend on the type of bacteria causing the infection and on the infections severity. They may be given orally or .
Some examples of antibiotics used for pneumonia can include one or a combination of the following:
Viruses cant be treated with antibiotics.
Treatment of viral pneumonia focuses on supportive care, such as easing symptoms, maintaining hydration, and monitoring vital signs. In some cases, antiviral drugs may be used.
In the case of the flu, an antiviral, such as Tamiflu, may be prescribed.
Get A Pneumonia Vaccine
Vaccines help prevent pneumonia by boosting your immunity against some of the common bacteria and viruses that cause illness. Taking all of the following vaccines can safeguard you against pneumonia:
Vaccines are incredibly safe and effective, but they can have side effects. Speak to a healthcare provider so you know what to expect with each vaccine.
Of note, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends infants younger than age 2 take four doses of the pneumonia shot at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and then a booster between 12 to 15 months and that all adults older than 65 be given pneumococcal vaccines.
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How Can Home Care Help Seniors Who Are Recovering From Pneumonia
Whether you are a senior or their loved one, it is important to remember that the goal of pneumonia recovery at home should be getting back into good health so they can do what they love. Sometimes this means having someone else on hand for help, like a home care companion or nurse!
The best care for seniors is often found in their own homes. Elite Care at Home can provide that support by providing respite and assistance during difficult days, plus our caregivers are trained to help with daily tasks such as preparing meals and reminding them of important appointments. Call our local office today!
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.
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