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Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia in Seniors

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Seniors are much more susceptible to pneumonia than younger people, and are also more adversely affected. However, some pneumonia symptoms are similar to those of other illnesses such as bronchitis and tuberculosis, making it difficult to pinpoint whether or not your loved one even has pneumonia. To help concerned caregivers and family members identify pneumonia symptoms, Home Care Assistance of Warren has created this helpful list of the most common signs and symptoms.

Painful Cough

A lingering, painful cough indicates an irritant in the upper respiratory system or lungs. If the cough lasts longer than a few days, check with a medical professional to rule out pneumonia and other serious conditions.

Labored Breathing

Pneumonia causes fluid to collect in the lungs, often resulting in painful, labored breathing or shortness of breath. Your loved one may take rapid, shallow breaths, or the lips and fingertips may become blue-tinged if there isn’t enough oxygen in the body. Your loved one may also complain of chest or rib pain and struggle to find a comfortable position while resting.

Fever and Fatigue

Fatigue is often combined with other symptoms, such as a fever that is over 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, high fevers are also accompanied by bouts of sweating and chills. Cold-like symptoms or general feelings of malaise that last longer than a few days require professional evaluation.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are symptoms of pneumonia that can easily be confused with another type of illness. Stomach issues that do not resolve within 24 to 48 hours require professional treatment. Dehydration may also occur if your loved one sleeps through meals, is unable to eat, or sips only small amounts of fluids throughout the day.

Dizziness or Confusion

Dizziness and confusion are caused by the reduced amount of oxygen reaching the brain. Your loved one may not be as lucid as usual, or they may begin to lose his or her balance frequently as a result of pneumonia.

It is important to note that not all seniors have easily identifiable pneumonia symptoms. If in doubt about the nature of your loved one’s illness, the advice of a medical professional should be sought.

Should a serious illness or diagnosis ever land your loved one in the hospital, Home Care Assistance of Warren can help him or her have a smooth transition back home and provide help with daily tasks as he or she recovers. To learn more about our hourly or 24/7 live-in care in Warren, please call 908.450.9400. One of our friendly Care Managers can answer your questions, discuss care services, and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.