Pneumonia is a lung infection that causes the air sacs in one or both lungs to become inflamed, which makes it hard to breathe, causes a fever, cough, chest pain, and other unpleasant symptoms.
While most people know about this infection, many don’t know that pneumonia is very common. One of the most common reasons for people to go to the hospital in the United States, especially for older people. An early diagnosis and quick treatment could make the difference between a stay in the hospital and a stay at home.
If you get pneumonia, you may have mild to severe complications that should never be ruled out.
What are the danger signs of pneumonia?
For people who are older, the risk of having serious problems with pneumonia is much greater. People who are older should be aware of a few bad things that can happen when they get pneumonia.
When you acquire pneumonia, whether it’s caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi, there’s a potential it’ll progress to other health problems.
Learn to recognize the symptoms of these complications and seek treatment as soon as possible to keep any health issues under control.
Septic Shock and Bacteremia
If bacteria caused your pneumonia, they could enter your bloodstream, especially if you did not seek treatment from a doctor. It’s a condition known as bacteremia.
Bacteremia can result in a potentially fatal condition known as septic shock. It’s a reaction to the infection in your blood, and it can produce dangerously low blood pressure.
When your blood pressure is too low, your heart may not be able to pump enough blood to your organs, causing them to malfunction. If you have any of the following symptoms, get medical help right away.
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Shiver-inducing chills
- Blood pressure is low.
- Uncomfortable stomach (nausea, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea)
If you have bacteremia, your doctor will analyze your blood for bacteria and treat you with antibiotics. You could be admitted to the hospital for bacteremia or septic shock.
Pleural Effusion and trouble breathing
If you’re an older person who has a long-term lung disease, like asthma, you should see your doctor. COPD can make it more difficult to breathe if you get a pneumonia infection. This is especially true if fluid builds up around the lungs, causing it to build up in the layers of surrounding tissue and the chest cavity. Doctors and medical professionals refer to it as Pleural Effusion. An acute respiratory distress (ARDS), respiratory failure, and hospitalization could happen if this is a very bad thing for you.
There can be an abscess if pus builds up in a lung space. This is a common and serious complication of pneumonia that can have a big impact on older people if they don’t get help. lung necrosis (necrotizing pneumonia) is an uncommon but serious side effect of a lung abscess. The breathing trouble is due to severe lung inflammation that causes critical lung tissue damage, and it is very rare for this to happen.
Kidney, Liver & Heart Damage
Oxygen is what your body needs to work. For older people, especially those with other long-term health problems, pneumonia can cause severe shortness of breath and other respiratory problems that cut off oxygen to the lungs. There is a risk that this complication will damage the organs in the kidneys, liver, and heart. This is why it is important for older people to get pneumonia diagnosis and also get treatment as soon as possible.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
A UTI usually happens when bad bacteria get into the kidneys, ureter, bladder, or urethra. Our immune systems weaken as we get older, which means that most older people are already more likely to get urinary tract infections because their bodies are less strong. Bacteria that cause lung infections can also spread to other parts of the body, like the urinary tract, which can make a UTI more likely. Everyone can get a UTI, but older people get more serious problems, like a higher risk of sepsis. Consult with your medical professional checking you immediately if you feel any discomfort.
Sepsis is a very dangerous side effect of pneumonia. People who have this condition could die if they don’t get help. It can damage tissue, cause organ failure, and even kill them. People who have long-term health problems or weak immune systems are more likely to get sepsis from an infection like pneumonia. Geriatric Patients need hospitalization at least 13 times more than other group of people.
Acute Care for Elderly Pneumonia Complications
Children, adults, and older people all have different symptoms of pneumonia. The older someone gets, the more subtle the symptoms will be.
These include things like the worsening of already existing health problems, dizziness, confusion, and sudden changes in mental awareness.
At the first sign of problems, you should call your doctor. Sudden chest pain that lasts for a long time and new respiratory problems are especially worrisome if you have the coronavirus (COVID-19). In some cases, COVID-19 can cause pneumonia, which can be very bad for people who are old.
If you have trouble breathing, a persistent pain or pressure in the chest, or new confusion, get medical help right away.
- Upper respiratory infections
- Shortness of breath
To help prevent pneumonia:
- Obtain a vaccination. People can get vaccines to help protect them from some types of pneumonia and the flu. Consult your doctor about receiving these shots.Immunization rules have changed over time. Even if you remember getting a pneumonia vaccine in the past, you should talk to your doctor about your current vaccination status.
- Ensure that children get immuniz. Doctors prescribe a separate pneumonia vaccine for children under the age of two. For children aged two to five are also at high risk of pneumococcal illness. Vaccination is necessary in children who go to a group child care center so they can stay healthy. Getting a flu shot is also a good idea for kids who are older than six months, say doctors.
- Maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently. if possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to prevent yourself from respiratory infections. This is necessary because they can occasionally lead to pneumonia.
- Don’t light up. Tobacco use weakens your lungs’ natural defenses against respiratory illnesses.
- Maintain a healthy immune system. Get enough sleep, exercise on a regular basis, and consume a nutritious diet.
Many germs can make you sick. In the air we breathe, there are bacteria and viruses that can cause us to have bad breath.
These germs are cannot enter your lungs courtesy of your body and its immune system. Even if your health is generally strong, these bacteria can sometimes overwhelm your immune system.
So, it’s important to take precautions and protect yourself before you see dangerous signs.