Pneumonia among the elderly is an issue of concern. If an elderly is suspected with the signs of the disease, further assessment is required since pneumonia can quickly progress. It is also detrimental for individuals with chronic ailments such as heart or lung conditions.
It is important to note that the elderly usually have fewer symptoms than younger individuals. This simply means that the condition can progress to a dangerous point before seeking medical care.
Close look on the signs of pneumonia among the elderly?
- Common cold and high fever – in most cases of pneumonia, it starts with the usual signs of common cold, even with low-grade fever. In case the fever is over 101 degrees F, a doctor must be seen to determine if a bacterial infection is present which can lead to pneumonia.
- Chest pain, especially during deep breathing – this can be felt as aching or dull pressure beneath the breastbone which is aggravated by coughing or deep breathing.
- Muscle pain – among those with pneumonia, there is a feeling of generalized malaise which includes aching muscles and discomfort as well as joint pain.
- Headache – this is often worsened by coughing
- Purple or “dusky” skin color – this is a sign that there is lack of oxygen in the blood.
- Shortness of breath – this is a feeling of not getting enough air. Oftentimes, this results to gasping even though not exerting at all.
- Clammy skin – the skin feels moist and cool to the touch. The individual might also appear pale. The clamminess is usually due to sweating.
- Shaking chills – this is described as feeling cold from the inside out. The individual could not feel any warmth. The chills can cause the individual to shake vigorously that his/her teeth chatters.
- Productive cough – there is sputum while coughing
- Blood-streaked or discolored sputum – the sputum might be clear but also yellow, green or with specks of blood.
Immediate response to any of these symptoms in an elderly can mean a difference in the outcome. Consulting a doctor is vital if any of these signs are present.