Pneumonia – A common problem when cold weather arrives
Today is the coldest day of the year and we definitely have to watch out for pneumonia! It is a dreadful condition that can cause major problems. As your loved one’s age, there is a significant decline in their immunity. This makes them susceptible to contract infections of all kinds. It is an infection, that attacks the respiratory function of your loved ones. Furthermore, if our loved ones suffer from other diseases such as cardiovascular ailments or other degenerative diseases. then battling pneumonia becomes all the more difficult. In old age, It may not always show up as classical symptoms of breathlessness, body ache and high fever. But, in many cases, it may just manifest as delirium, confusion or dizziness. This is even more important with the new threat of the new coronavirus from China.
You can get Pneumonia either by bacteria or viruses. The symptoms differ according to the type of the organism it is caused from. Older individuals are more prone to develop it during seasonal changes. And having a weak immune system does not help. Some of the common symptoms are:
Fever with chills
Shortness of breath
Sputum is either green or yellow-colored
Our loved ones may not always suffer from the above-mentioned symptoms. Your loved ones may exhibit a different set of signs and symptoms as compared to their younger counterparts. The signs are always not very specific making the diagnosis a bit difficult. Your loved ones with pneumonia may appear to be lethargic, may feel more sleepy and also experience spells of dizziness. Diagnosis becomes more difficult when our loved ones are already suffering from dementia or other respiratory diseases.
Tips to take care of our loved ones with pneumonia
When our loved ones end up contracting it, they have to spend quite a long time in a hospital. However, in order to ensure complete recovery, our loved ones need good care once they are back home. One of the major considerations for your loved ones is to ensure that they don’t contract the infection again.
This is because, with age, there is a decrease in immunity and a viral or bacterial attack, makes our loved ones all the more vulnerable to contract infections easily. Here are some of the tips that can help you take good care of your loved ones with pneumonia:
Rest, rest and more rest
Ensure that your loved one takes as much rest as possible. Pneumonia is a serious form of viral infection, that leaves behind long-term effects on our body. Making sure our loved ones have adequate rest during this period is necessary to recover faster from the disease. Rest is practically true for any type of infection, and particularly pneumonia. The body heals itself with proper rest.
Fluids are a must
You need to encourage your loved one to drink more and more fluids. This is necessary so that all body organs can function appropriately and the immune system can become recharged to fight against infections. It is important to realize, hydration is necessary to heal your loved one’s body after an attack of pneumonia.
Take note of their nutrition
Nutrition is extremely important for those who have recently suffered a pneumonia attack. Loss of appetite is natural in many cases, but eating the right type of food is extremely important during the recovery period. In such cases, to build an appetite and get proper nutrition, you should encourage your loved ones to eat small and frequent meals throughout the day.
Your loved ones may feel that since they are back home from the hospital, they are fit enough to go ahead with their normal routine. However, this isn’t entirely true, and you have to tell your loved ones to take rest and begin slowly with their daily activities.
Steps to prevent pneumonia
Our loved ones, aged 65 years and above are at an increased risk of suffering from pneumonia. Take the following steps to keep your loved ones safe from respiratory infections:
Getting immunization shots every year is a good way to prevent infections. You need to ask your doctor about the best form of immunization. Medical experts advise seniors to get vaccinated against bacterial pneumococcal pneumonia. Your loved ones can get this vaccine once every 5 years. This is pretty effective at preventing pneumonia or decreasing the severity if infected. In many cases, doctors may also suggest a booster dose after a period of 5 years. In addition, seniors should also receive vaccinations for other types of disease such as flu and influenza. Which can eventually lead to pneumonia in a much more severe case?
Practice good personal hygiene
Maintaining good personal hygiene is necessary to ward off infections. Given the fact that our loved ones are more susceptible to contract infections. We need to keep them safe from other individuals who are sick and down with measles, chickenpox or even the common cold. It may be hard to believe, but all these germs can cause pneumonia in our loved ones. Therefore, it becomes necessary that we encourage our loved ones to practice good personal hygiene, and don’t forget to wash our hands often. Also, dental infections can in some way also cause pneumonia. And therefore, taking good care of dental hygiene also becomes necessary.
Learn about the symptoms of pneumonia in the elderly
Our loved ones do not always experience the classical symptoms of pneumonia. Therefore, we must learn about the different signs our loved ones may experience. This would help in early diagnosis of the condition, which would help in better management.
Smoking is one of the major risk factors for not only developing pneumonia. But it is also known to greatly reduce the lung’s capacity to heal itself. Moreover, smoking also significantly reduces the body’s capability to fight infections. Therefore, it is necessary that we urge our seniors to quit smoking.
Overseeing this can cause you to stress because you can’t be in 2 places at one time: taking care of your business and taking care of your loved one. Look into hiring some help. This will give you the opportunity to get some rest and also make sure your loved one is properly cared for. Or maybe you want to spend more time with your loved one while taking a break from some of the redundant business tasks like sending out emails, returning calls, or organizing files. Let’s chat about how I can be of service to you so you can take care of your business and your loved one.
Don’t forget about taking care of yourself and keeping your business going while you are caregiving. I’m here to assist you on this journey, schedule your planning session with me so we can look at how to keep your life and your business running smoothly.
By practicing the above-mentioned tips, our loved ones can live a healthy life. It is our duty to understand, that with age our immune system also loses its capacity to fight infections. Therefore, taking preventive steps to stay healthy and prevent respiratory infections can help in building good respiratory health. For more information, check out this article. Also, check out my past post on the flu. Finally, I have written several books to help you with caregiving if you are interested.