Pneumonia can seemingly strike out of nowhere, especially if your elderly family member is prone to lung infections. Getting treatment for pneumonia as soon as possible is easier if you know what to watch for in terms of symptoms.
Overall Weakness and Fatigue
Pneumonia takes a lot out of your senior and this can show itself as overall weakness and fatigue that sleep just doesn’t help. Your senior might find that she gets exhausted by doing even simple activities that she enjoys every day. This can be one of the first signs she might notice.
Because pneumonia affects the lungs, your senior may start to cough. Depending on her overall lung health, though, those coughing fits might not be as productive as she’d like. She may feel that there’s still a lot of congestion in her lungs.
Green or Yellowish Phlegm
If she is able to cough up any phlegm, it might be green or yellow instead of clear. It might also be a little thicker than normal, especially if your elderly family member hasn’t been drinking a lot of fluids lately. The green or yellow color is an indication that she’s fighting an infection.
Because your senior’s lungs are fighting hard to help her get the oxygen that she needs, they’re overworked. She might experience a tightness or pain in her chest that can feel like a burning or stabbing pain. The fluid and inflammation in her lungs is keeping them from being able to expand the way that they usually do.
Shortness of Breath
Along with pain and difficulty expelling fluids, your senior probably feels as if she can’t get a full breath. This is because her lungs are hampered in their ability to function properly. She might continue to experience shortness of breath even after the pneumonia is gone because her lungs are continuing to heal.
With infection comes a fever, typically. The fever may only be a low-grade version that your aging family member doesn’t notice at first. In fact, your first indication may be that your elderly family member complains of feeling hot and then cold.
Make sure that you ask your senior’s doctor what she can do in order to help her avoid developing pneumonia. If you’re sick, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan for your aging adult. Hiring senior care providers to take over temporarily can help your aging adult to avoid getting sick more often.