It doesn’t take much to put an elderly person into the hospital so they can get the best care possible. When the doctor gives elderly people a diagnosis of pneumonia and admits them to the hospital, it means that he or she saw some warning signs within the aging person. Getting them to a care facility with an early diagnosis may just be saving their life.
Symptoms of Pneumonia in Seniors
Elderly adults are more susceptible to contagious diseases for several different reasons. First, their immune systems are not as strong as they once were, making it easier for organisms like bacteria and viruses to invade and cause harm. Their immune systems also don’t fight back as vigorously, making it more difficult to overcome the effects of illnesses.
Also, many elderly adults already struggle with health conditions that can be complicated by pneumonia. Illnesses like heart disease, respiratory complications and more may be exacerbated when they also have pneumonia. When they are exposed to the organisms that trigger pneumonia, the illness causes an infection in the lungs. The air sacs fill with fluid and hinder the amount of oxygen that gets into the bloodstream.
Family caregivers that administer elderly care to their aging loved ones should learn about the common early symptoms of pneumonia so they can seek out medical attention right away. Symptoms include pain in the chest, coughing, fever, chills, shortness of breath, dehydration, loss of appetite and mental confusion.
Treating Pneumonia in Seniors
Elderly care and treatment for someone with pneumonia is a little different than for the average adult. A doctor will diagnose pneumonia in several ways. They will listen to the lungs to confirm the abnormal sounds that mean respiratory infection. Sometimes doctors will order blood tests, chest x-ray, CT scan, and test the sputum from coughing. Depending on the findings, many doctors will request that the elderly patient spend a few days in the hospital for treatment.
When it comes to treatment, seniors are in good hands at the hospital. They usually receive antibiotics to treat any bacterial infections. Cough medicine and fever-reducing medicine can relieve symptoms. Treating pneumonia in the elderly requires constant monitoring against further complications, that might include blood pressure issues, breathing problems, lack of oxygen to vital organs, declining kidney functions, dehydration, lung abscess and bacteremia, which is an infection that enters the bloodstream.
It’s definitely important for family caregivers to be aware of the early symptoms of pneumonia in elderly adults because the sooner they can get medical treatment, the fewer complications there will be. Disease prevention is also a big part of elderly care, so seniors can practice good hygiene to avoid contracting this often-deadly respiratory illness.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Elizabeth, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care of New Brunswick today. Call (732) 607-8870.