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  • Roy W Digital Manager

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Updated: Nov 15, 2019

Every year November 12th is recognized as World Pneumonia Day.


What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection caused by bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that spread through the blood-stream and results in inflammation and decreased circulation to one or both of the lungs. As circulation to the lungs decreases, oxygen in the blood declines. Cases of pneumonia can range from mild to severe and even deadly, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are much more susceptible to this disease.


It is essential for Caregivers to understand how to reduce the risk pneumonia in seniors, spot the symptoms should they occur & assist with seeking treatment from a medical professional.

According to stats Canada, Pneumonia combined with Influenza is the 8th leading cause of death. (2017 stats)

Reducing the Risk

With a little common sense and by following simple hygienic practices, pneumonia can be prevented. Here are some tips:

  • Wash hands often, especially after blowing oneโ€™s nose, going to the bathroom, changing diapers and before preparing a meal and eating.

  • Donโ€™t smoke because it reduces the ability of the lungs to fight infection.

  • Wear a mask when cleaning dusty or moldy areas to avoid inhaling dirt and microorganisms.

  • Those at risk such as the the elderly, people with long-term illnesses or weak immune systems should have themselves vaccinated.

Visit immunizebc.ca for more information about immunization and how you could qualify for a free Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV 13) Vaccine


Spot the symptoms

Some of the primary symptoms of pneumonia are:

  • Cough with yellow or greenish mucus, which may have traces of blood

  • Sharp or stabbing chest pain made worse by deep breathing or coughing

  • Fever with chills

  • Rapid, shallow breathing

  • Shortness of breath

  • Other symptoms may include: headache, sweating, clammy skin, loss of appetite, feeling of weakness or fatigue, confusion (common in older people with serious cases)

Seniors' Health Conditions can greatly improve the odds of getting pneumonia. Diabetes, Parkinsonโ€™s disease, Chemotherapy,ย and HIV put seniors at a higher risk for Pneumonia, as well as Cystic Fibrosis, Asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and Bronchiectasis.


Treating Pneumonia

  • Visit your doctor

  • Follow your doctor's orders including taking any prescribed medications

  • Get lots of rest

  • Keep hydrated

  • Careful monitoring to ensure pneumonia infection doesn't get worse or return.

Family caregivers should stay mindful of symptoms and be aware that pneumonia can be persistent.

If your you or your loved one has been diagnosed with Pneumonia, our caregivers and nurses at Pacific Coast Health Services are qualified, experienced and are available 24 hours a day - 365 days a year. Visit the services section of our website or call (250) 389-0202 for more details.


Sources:

Lung.ca - Stats Canada - HealthLinkBC - immunizebc.ca - World Health Organization

For informational purposes only. Information contained on our site is never intended to replace legal advice from a lawyer or medical advice from a physician.