Jan 24, 2019 by Katie Fielmann
Pneumonia is a very serious respiratory disease that can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause inflammation in the lungs. The inflammation causes a loss of circulation and a decrease in oxygen for the body. As with other illnesses, pneumonia can be relatively mild or quite severe. Sadly, seniors are more likely to face difficult and serious symptoms and will often take longer to recover.
Comfort Keepers’ elder care services can help you reduce pneumonia risks and increase understanding of signs and symptoms.
Common signs of pneumonia include coughing, chest pain, chills, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, and often confusion or delirium. While the risk and number of cases of pneumonia increase as we get older, the disease can be harder to diagnose since seniors often have fewer initial symptoms. Many seniors simply feel like they are "under the weather". This is the advantage of a trained provider of elder care services. Not only can a caregiver notice the changes in a senior's daily life, but they have the experience to know what the signs and symptoms mean.
If pneumonia is suspected, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Strict standards must be followed during treatment and follow-up. A caregiver can help you address the safety, nutritional, physical, and emotional aspects of care during this challenging time.
An elder care services provider can also help you avoid pneumonia. Consider these suggestions to reduce your risk:
Get immunized. Pneumonia vaccinations are recommended by the Mayo Clinic, the CDC, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and many others because this one-time vaccination can prevent or reduce the severity of pneumonia and save your life. It is particularly effective when combined with an annual flu shot which reduces the risk of illnesses that lead to pneumonia.
Wash your hands. Regularly washing hands with soap is a good hygiene practice anyway, but it can also significantly reduce the spread of illnesses that lead to pneumonia. Consider placing signs or other reminders near the toilet, sink, and doors as a reminder.
Pay attention to brushing and flossing. Seniors have additional challenges when it comes to dental hygiene. Because tooth and gum infection can lead to pneumonia, it is especially important to brush and floss daily or ensure that dentures are clean and fit well. A pre-rinse and germ-killing mouthwash is also recommended.
Pneumonia is a serious condition that can be fatal. With proper precautions, planning, and care, the risk can be reduced, however. Comfort Keepers’ elder care services can help. For more information on pneumonia or the many ways Comfort Keepers’ can help you remain safe and secure while maximizing the quality of your elder years, contact a care coordinator today.
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