Causes of Pneumonia in Elderly People Pneumonia is caused by exposure to germs, most often bacteria or a virus. People of all ages come into contact with the organisms that cause pneumonia, but that contact results in pneumonia more often and in a more aggressive form in seniors.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of pneumonia among the elderly. Aspiration pneumonia is underdiagnosed in this group of patients, and tuberculosis always should be considered. In this population an etiologic diagnosis is rarely available when antimicrobial therapy must be instituted.
The three main causes of pneumonia are bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Treatment depends on the cause. Pneumonia is a type of infection that affects your lungs. It can affect one or both lungs.
Many germs can cause pneumonia. The most common are bacteria and viruses in the air we breathe. Community-acquired pneumonia
Common Causes of Pneumonia Viruses, bacteria, and fungi can all cause pneumonia. In the United States, common causes of viral pneumonia are influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). A common cause of bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus).
Confusion and/or delirium are red-flag signs of pneumonia in elderly people as well as lower-than-normal body temperatures. Other signs, which can sometimes be confused with a cold and the flu, include: Chest pain during breathing or coughing. Feeling tired or weak.
Recurrent pneumonia most commonly occurs in patients with underlying lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchiectasis, immunocompromised patients, and those with a local obstructive process such as a tumor.
Ways you can get pneumonia include: Bacteria and viruses living in your nose, sinuses, or mouth may spread to your lungs. You may breathe some of these germs directly into your lungs. You breathe in (inhale) food, liquids, vomit, or fluids from the mouth into your lungs (aspiration pneumonia).
If you’re an older individual, you can help to prevent pneumonia by doing the following:
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
You can help prevent pneumonia by doing the following:
Mild pneumonia can usually be treated at home with rest, antibiotics (if it’s likely be caused by a bacterial infection) and by drinking plenty of fluids. More severe cases may need hospital treatment.
Most people who get COVID-19 have mild or moderate symptoms like coughing, a fever, and shortness of breath. But some who catch the new coronavirus get severe pneumonia in both lungs. COVID-19 pneumonia is a serious illness that can be deadly.
Viruses that can lead to pneumonia include: Influenza (flu) A and B viruses, the most common causes in adults. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is more common in infants and children than in adults. Coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the new virus that causes COVID-19.