Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by viruses, bacteria, and a number of other microorganisms. Although this health condition is treatable through antibiotics, it still accounts for several deaths in a year. Aging adults are more susceptible to pneumonia than their younger counterparts. Here are a few ways seniors can reduce their risk of pneumonia, brought to you by the Omaha senior home care experts at Home Care Assistance.
1. Don’t Ignore the Symptoms
Pneumonia often develops when a minor infection is not treated properly. Many common illnesses such as influenza damage the lungs and make it difficult to breathe. Within a short time, these illnesses can result in pneumonia or other serious respiratory conditions. Seniors should immediately see a doctor if they experience symptoms such as tightness in their chest, wheezing, dizziness, and general weakness.
2. Consider Booster Shots
Many people are vaccinated against bacterial pneumonia around the age of 60, but your loved one may need booster shots every few years after that. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggests all seniors should receive a booster vaccine at least once every five years. Older adults can also speak with a doctor about getting annual influenza shots so their immune systems are not weakened by other infections.
3. Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercising boosts the immune system. However, many seniors have sedentary lives with almost no physical activity. Swimming, brisk walks, and gardening are a few low-impact exercises for those who would like to get in shape.
4. Take a Supplement
After the age of 50, the human body requires slightly different nutrients to operate at maximum efficiency. Seniors with nutritional deficiencies have a greater chance of contracting pneumonia and other illnesses. Seniors should consider high-quality supplements, which contain large doses of folic acid, vitamin C, and zinc. It is important for your loved one to consult his or her doctor before taking any supplement.
5. Thoroughly Clean Bedding
Even health-conscious seniors may be repeatedly exposing themselves to foreign bacteria every night, which is one of the many reasons why it is important to wash sheets, pillowcases, and blankets at least twice a month. You should also have your loved one’s drapes and carpet cleaned every few weeks to get rid of dust, mold, mildew, and other airborne irritants.
To learn more about senior health, call Home Care Assistance at (402) 763-9140. As a leading provider of live-in and respite caregivers in Omaha, NE, we encourage and assist seniors in adopting habits that promote health and longevity. Our tailored senior care plans can include nutritious meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation to medical appointments, and physical activities to boost your loved one’s wellbeing and help him or her keep illnesses at bay.