What is Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs, causing the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs to inflate with fluid or pus. This may trigger a variety of symptoms that range from mild to severe. Pneumonia is mainly caused by bacteria, fungi, or a virus. Irritants can also cause it in the atmosphere. Many different variables determine the severity of pneumonia. Some include the initial cause of the infection, age, and health.
What is walking pneumonia?
A mild case of pneumonia is labeled as walking pneumonia. A virus or mycoplasma pneumonia bacteria usually cause this form of pneumonia. Those infected with walking pneumonia may have symptoms that are not as severe or last as long as someone with a worse case of pneumonia. Bed rest and staying in the hospital is probably not needed with walking pneumonia.
What causes pneumonia?
Most cases of pneumonia are caused by:
- Bacterial pneumonia is an infection of the lung caused by certain bacteria.
- Viruses that affect the respiratory tract can cause pneumonia, including the flu virus and the virus that causes the common cold. In patients under 1, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause. Pneumonia caused by viruses are usually milder, with a recovery time on its own of about 1 to 3 weeks.
- Pneumonia caused by fungi is also possible, especially in individuals with an already compromised immune system. There are also some fungi in certain parts of the United States that dwell in soil that can cause pneumonia.
- Pneumonia can also be caused by inhaling foreign particles into your lungs. This is an aspiration. These inhalants can be food, saliva, liquids, or vomit. It is common in individuals who are not strong enough to cough particles out after vomiting. The particles irritate the lungs, swell, and cause an infection, which leads to pneumonia.
Post Hospital Care After Pneumonia
A disease can stop many of us from going about our daily routines and favorite activities. Staying physically and mentally healthy is especially important for seniors, but illness can’t be avoided sometimes.
Although pneumonia is a severe illness, it can often be remedied at home. However, seniors and those with weakened immune systems or other underlying health issues may require hospitalization.
Even being discharged from a medical facility and not being monitored anymore does not mean a patient’s recovery is finished. Pneumonia takes a significant toll on the body, which results in many feeling lethargic. Older patients may need more recovery time to regain strength and feel better health.
For pneumonia patients, the recovery period at home is incredibly crucial. It is imperative to follow your health care provider’s directions to have a full recovery. Seniors should be mindful of any changes to their body and should note any changes or contact their doctor if they notice any sign the infection is coming back.
Recovery at home may include antibiotics, prescription medication, or a nebulizer for a breathing treatment. It is essential to follow the directions on taking your medicine and the dosage when taking prescriptions. In the absence of treatment or mistreatment, bacteria may remain, grow and cause a relapse. Maintaining a healthy diet while drinking plenty of water has a significant impact. Humidifiers or vaporizers are also great additions to have in the house to help keep the air moist and to help make breathing easier.
Patients who are seniors can expect a longer recovery time and may experience general fatigue and cough after pneumonia subsides. Getting plenty of sleep helps heal the body but is essential to maintaining a healthy diet to boost the immune system. Seniors should not smoke and should avoid spending time outdoors if there is smoke in the air from a fire. Air pollution and breathing in particles can cause breathing problems and infection in the lungs. The consumption of alcohol should also be avoided as it restricts the effectiveness of antibiotics.
More than anything, if you are a senior, don’t forget to ask for assistance if it is needed. Recovery from pneumonia can be challenging to handle alone, and a helping hand, whether from a friend, family, or a home caregiver, can be integral in a successful recovery. Seniors and their loved ones strive to get them back to good health so they can do what they love – and sometimes, a helping hand can make all the difference.
Is there a vaccine for pneumonia?
There are only two vaccines available, but a vaccine is not available for all types of pneumonia. The vaccines help prevent pneumonia caused by a variety of bacteria called pneumococcal. Medical professionals recommend the first vaccine for all children younger than five years. The other is recommended for patients older than two who have an increased risk of pneumonia.
Getting the pneumonia vaccine is especially important if you:
- Are over the age of 65.
- Have chronic conditions (asthma, lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell disease, or cirrhosis)
- Have a compromised immune system (resulting from HIV/AIDS, kidney failure, a damaged/removed spleen, a recent organ transplant, or are receiving chemotherapy.)
- Have a cochlear implant (an electronic device that helps you hear).
- The pneumococcal vaccines can’t prevent all cases of pneumonia. They help people at risk of experiencing severe and possibly life-threatening complications of pneumonia.
Linda’s Care Home Care Can Help
A professional caregiver can help with recovery after being discharged from the hospital. They can assist with everyday tasks that may be difficult for those with respiratory issues. Linda’s Care Home Caregivers are happy to help with supporting physician recommended programs, meal prep, reminding patients to take prescriptions, transportation to appointments, and assisting with prescribed physical activity. Contact your local home care office today to learn about our services.
Mayo Clinic. Pneumonia. Web. 2018.
National Center for Biotechnology. “Severe pneumonia in the elderly: a multivariate analysis of risk factors.” Web. 2015.
Drugs.com. “Pneumonia.” Web. 2018.
WebMD. “6 Serious Complications of Pneumonia You Should Know.” Web. 2018.