Pneumonia can be extremely serious for your elderly family member, especially if her health is compromised in other ways. Here’s what you need to know as her caregiver.
Pneumonia Is a Lung Infection
Pneumonia sounds complicated, but it’s just an infection in the lungs. There are a wide range of different bacteria and viruses that can cause pneumonia, so her doctor might want to culture some of her mucus to determine what the right medication is. When someone gets pneumonia, they might cough, have a fever, and experience a buildup of fluid in their lungs. This can be painful and take a lot out of your elderly family member.
Risk Factors Are Important to Know
If your elderly family member’s immune system is already compromised, she’s more likely to develop pneumonia. Being around other people who are sick, being a smoker, and having lung issues already can all contribute as well. It’s important to talk to your elderly family member’s doctor about her personal risk factors so that you can determine how likely pneumonia might be for her.
At first, your loved one might not realize that she has pneumonia. In fact, walking pneumonia is called that because the person who is sick doesn’t realize how sick they are and they’re still up and walking around. Your elderly family member might experience tightness in her chest and feel as if she can’t get enough oxygen. When the infection progresses, she might have a fever and feel weaker than she usually does. If you suspect that your elderly family member has pneumonia, she should visit her doctor right away.
Can You Prevent Pneumonia?
Make sure that you talk to your senior’s doctor about what you can do to help her to avoid pneumonia. Her risk of developing pneumonia may be lessened with immunization, so it’s important to consider that option. Depending on her other health concerns, both a pneumonia vaccine and a flu shot could be a good idea. Proper hand washing techniques and staying away from people who are sick can also help quite a bit. Home health care providers can help you to learn how to wash your hands effectively so you can keep germs at bay.
You may also want to consider getting a pneumonia vaccine and a flu shot. This can help you to prevent being a germ carrier and therefore bringing germs to your senior family member.