The elderly have a higher risk of getting pneumonia than younger people. They are also more likely to be hospitalized when they do get it. Pneumonia is a respiratory infection that affects the lungs. It usually creates swelling and fluid in the air sacs. This makes it difficult for oxygen to travel through the bloodstream. Pneumonia can be a dangerous infection. There are some symptoms associated with pneumonia that you and your senior’s 24-hour home care providers should be aware of.
Keep reading to learn more about what pneumonia symptoms to watch out for by you and 24-hour home care aides.
One of the primary symptoms is a cough that doesn’t clear up over a particular amount of time. Most experts suggest a cough that lasts over 3 to 4 days should be checked out. Some kinds of pneumonia can cause mucus to build up in the lungs. This can make a person cough up a green and yellow colored substance. If you or a 24-hour home care provider notice that your elderly loved one has been continually coughing, it is best to contact their primary care doctor.
Fever (or low body temperature)
In most cases, a person with pneumonia will have a fever. However, there are times when an elderly person will have a lower body temperature than normal. If you or a 24-hour home care provider notice that your elderly loved one has a fever or a low body temperature that doesn’t clear up after 24 hours, have them see their doctor.
Chest pain is also a symptom of pneumonia. Your elderly loved one might feel like something is stabbing them in the chest. This pain usually occurs when a person breathes or coughs. However, it can occur when a person is just sitting still or laying down. If your elderly loved one has chest pain of any kind, they should have it checked out right away.
Any type of infection can sap the energy right out of the body. If your elderly loved one is feeling exhausted and fatigued, it could be a sign that they have pneumonia. It is important to remember that fatigue isn’t always a sign of pneumonia. Many other things could cause this symptom. However, if your elderly loved one has fatigue that doesn’t go away, they should see their doctor about it.
Confusion is often a symptom of pneumonia. However, there are many reasons why an elderly person might feel confused. It is best to speak with your elderly loved one’s doctor if your loved one is getting confused often. They could have pneumonia, another disease or condition, or it could be nothing at all.
Shortness of breath
As you learned above, pneumonia can cause fluid to build up in the lungs. It can cause a person to cough, as well. This means your elderly loved one might find themselves out of breath. This is especially true when they try to go up the stairs or even when walking from one part of the house to another.
Understanding the Symptoms
As a 24-hour home care provider or family caregiver, it is important to understand the symptoms of pneumonia. Do you believe the elderly person you are caring for has pneumonia? If so, it is best to speak with their medical team for guidance on how to address their symptoms.