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Seniors & Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms & Prevention

Learn more about Pneumonia and what steps Seniors can take to lower the chances of infection
Seniors & Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms & Prevention
Pneumonia in the Elderly

For seniors, there are a wide range of illnesses to be mindful of, especially during the colder months, and pneumonia is one of the most serious.

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of the lungs, which causes inflammation and fluid build-up. The illness can be caused by various bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the air. However, there are steps that seniors can take to lower the chance of getting pneumonia.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the different causes of pneumonia, its symptoms, prevention tips, and facts to know about this serious illness.


Common Causes of Pneumonia in Seniors  

There are normally three different causes of pneumonia, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi.


One of the most common bacterial lung diseases is Pneumococcal Pneumonia. It is caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus Pneumonia. In many cases, this illness produces mucus that can penetrate the lungs and make it difficult to breathe. Pneumococcal Pneumonia can be spread by coughing or being in close contact with an infected person. This disease is very serious and all people, especially seniors, should monitor symptoms associated with it and seek medical attention at once if needed.


Another source of pneumonia is caused by a virus. Viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and the influenza virus can lead to pneumonia. This sort of illness normally surfaces in the upper part of the respiratory system, but can quickly travel down into the lungs. Once in the lungs, air sacs become infected and can begin to fill up with fluid. Any medical condition that weakens the immune system can increase the chances of getting viral pneumonia.


Fungi-based pneumonia can be caused by what is known as endemic or opportunistic fungi, or some sort of a combination. This form of pneumonia can be extremely dangerous in seniors, especially immunocompromised individuals. Usually entering the lungs via inhalation, fungi can also enter the body through the bloodstream. Seniors presenting any symptoms of this illness should seek medical care immediately.

Symptoms of Pneumonia in the Elderly

Common symptoms of pneumonia in seniors can include the following:

  • Fever
  • Wheezing
  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Chest pains
  • Loss of appetite

Should a senior develop any of these symptoms, time should not be wasted in contacting their doctor or in some cases, going to the nearest Emergency Room.

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Important Facts about Pneumonia

Anyone Senior can get Pneumonia, Even Normally Healthy People 

It’s common to believe that only seniors with other illnesses or compromised immune systems can contract pneumonia, but that is not the case. Any senior can get the illness, so it is important to take steps every day to avoid becoming more vulnerable to it.

A Healthy Lifestyle Can Help Prevent Pneumonia

Seniors can reduce their chances of getting pneumonia by following some daily health conscious habits. Getting the proper amount of rest, not smoking, eating a well-balanced, healthy diet, exercising, getting a flu shot and taking vitamins can play an important role in helping to prevent the illness.

Recovery Time is about 2-4 Weeks for Most People

Depending on a senior’s overall health, recovery from pneumonia can vary in duration, but for most people, recovery from the illness usually takes between 2-4 weeks. To aid in the healing process, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral drugs to treat the pneumonia.

It Can be Fatal

In some cases for seniors, pneumonia can cause death due to respiratory failure, sepsis, lung abscess and other conditions. Therefore, if any symptoms of the illness present themselves, it’s essential to seek medical attention at once.

Frontier Management is Here to Help

Pneumonia is a severe illness that can be caused by bacteria, fungi, or a virus. When it comes to treating this serious disease, time is of the essence. If you have a senior in your life who is experiencing symptoms of pneumonia, get them medical care promptly.

If you’re looking for further support for you or a loved one, you may consider one of our Senior Living, Assisted Living, or Memory Care communities. The highly experienced and knowledgeable professionals at Frontier Management are here to offer support. Contact us today for more information.

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