People over the age of 65 are in the high-risk category for developing pneumonia that could be severe – and a threat to human life. Here are the symptoms that are reserved in older adults. Often signs of pneumonia imitate that of a cold or flu, said the Mayo Clinic, but two specific symptoms are indicative of the condition. Specific to older adults, one warning sign of pneumonia is a sense of mental confusion or changes in mental awareness.
Another possible indication of pneumonia includes a “lower than normal body temperature”.
Experts at Medline Plus – a health organisation – pointed out that the average “normal” body temperature is 37 degrees (C).
However, some studies suggest that a “normal range” can swing from 36.1C to 37.2C.
Other signs of pneumonia – that can apply to anyone of any age – includes:
- Chest pain when you breathe or cough
- Cough, which may produce phlegm
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
- Shortness of breath.
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Other people at high risk of severe consequences from pneumonia include infants and young children, as well as those with weakened immune systems.
Newborns and infants may vomit, have a fever and cough, appear restless, and have difficulty eating or breathing if they have pneumonia.
Anyone who falls in the high-risk category are best visiting their doctor if they’re showing signs of pneumonia.
This is because health complications can arise for those in the high-risk group.
One such complication is when bacteria enters the bloodstream – this is known as bacteremia.
Fairview Health Services stated bacteremia is “serious, because it can cause a lot of harm to the body”.
Symptoms can include:
- Fever and chills
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Trouble breathing or fast breathing
- Fast heart rate
- Feeling lightheaded or faint
- Skin rashes or blotches
- Confusion, severe sleepiness, or loss of consciousness.
Treatment often requires hospital care and a course of antibiotics, which must be completed.
The Mayo Clinic also warned that a lung abscess could form if you suffer from pneumonia.
“An abscess occurs if pus forms in a cavity in the lung,” the experts at the health site explained.
“An abscess is usually treated with antibiotics. Sometimes, surgery or drainage with a long needle or tube placed into the abscess is needed to remove the pus.”
Can you prevent pneumonia?
There are vaccinations available to help minimise your risk of flu and pneumonia.
In addition, keeping your immune system strong will also be handy at preventing the condition.
To do so, it’s helpful to get enough sleep, to exercise regularly, and to eat a healthy diet.
It’s also important not to smoke, as smoking damages the lungs’ natural defences against respiratory infections.
Moreover, practising good hygiene by washing your hands regularly can help protect you from catching respiratory illnesses.
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