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Ways To Reduce The Risk of Pneumonia in Seniors

Jul 6, 2016 by Comfort Keepers of Fredericksburg

What is Pneumonia?

An infection of the lungs. This tends to be the most common, simplified definition of pneumonia, and while it is technically accurate, not only is pneumonia incredibly common - it’s almost always life-threatening. 

Pneumonia is caused when bacteria or viruses make their way into the lungs, resulting in the inflammation of alveoli – or air sacs – in the lungs. The alveoli then fill with fluid, which inhibits one’s breathing. Symptoms often include coughing, fever, nausea, and increased heart rate – and they can come on in the blink of an eye, even for those who are otherwise healthy.

Since they generally reflect that of the flu or the common cold, the symptoms of pneumonia may not seem to warrant any kind of immediate action for people who are frequently sick, so by the time it is actually detected, it’s often too late to combat the infection.

Seniors At Risk

No one is immune to pneumonia, but susceptibility does vary between age groups. Seniors, for instance, are more likely to get pneumonia, due to weakened immune systems, health conditions – such as diabetes and cystic fibrosis – and general frailty. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), pneumonia is considered one of the most serious infections for those 65 or older.

Knowing the risk of pneumonia is certainly helpful, but what can you do to help reduce the risk for your aging loved ones?

Tips for Reducing the Risk of Pneumonia

  • If symptoms do occur, have your senior consider getting a chest X-ray or blood test to determine whether or not pneumonia is the cause.
     
  • Ensure that they receive necessary vaccines, including an annual flu shot and the pneumococcal vaccine. As always, consult with your senior’s physician before doing so.
     
  • See that they continually strengthen the immune system through regular sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet.
     
  • Ensure they practice regular and proper hygiene, including hand-washing with anti-bacterial soap.
     
  • Encourage them to quit smoking, as it weakens the lungs’ natural defenses against respiratory infections.
     

As mentioned, pneumonia can occur quickly, so if your aging loved ones experience any of the associated symptoms, it’s vital that they are taken to a doctor or physician right away. However, by following the recommended health practices listed above, your loved ones can greatly reduce their overall risk.

At Comfort Keepers® of Fredericksburg, we recognize that you’re not always around to give the care and support loved ones need. We can help. Our compassionate, professional caregivers provide customized care, allowing your loved ones to receive the proper nourishment and assistance with daily living they need to stay happy, healthy, and safe. It's in home senior care the way it should be.

Contact us or call (540) 204-8743 today to learn more about how we can help your aging loved ones reduce their risk of pneumonia and help them live happier, healthier lives. We look forward to hearing from you! 


 

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