Tips For Aspiration Pneumonia Prevention

By Ann Wagner

Pulmonary aspiration which occurs when you inhale things such as stomach acid, food or saliva into your lungs later on leads to aspiration pneumonia. This condition occurs due to the lungs getting filled up with bacteria that may come with the food or saliva you have inhaled. It is therefore important to be aware of Aspiration Pneumonia Prevention steps that you can follow to keep yourself healthier.

It has some specific symptoms when it occurs. Poor oral hygiene and a lot of coughing when one is eating is a leading sign of this condition. Others include fatigue, chest pain, and shortness in breath. Whizzing, difficulty in swallowing among others. It is common among elderly citizens who suffer from conditions such as GERD, dysphagia, Parkinsons disease, dementia and other neurological illnesses.

Bacteria in food, saliva and liquids can find its way to the lungs through two ways, if you chew on food and it goes the wrong way and not through the oesophagus or if the food comes back up from the stomach. Some medical conditions may cause food to reach the lungs such as throat cancer, esophagitis, GERD and Dysphagia. Coughing a lot when eating can also lead to the same.

Some of the preventative methods that can keep you from having this illness can be provided by a specialist. One of the methods mostly used for people having conditions such as dysphagia which results to pneumonia is changing of diet. Having a meal plan that does not make it hard for you to swallow allows you to improve on your eating habits and prevents coughing reflexes as you swallow.

The other step for prevention is through swallowing therapy. Swallowing food properly is important in preventing food from reaching the lungs. A swallow therapist can guide you through exercises that will help you relax the gut muscles and allow you to get food to the stomach properly. This will be helpful to people having difficulties in swallowing their foods due to medical conditions.

The other step is dental hygiene. Keeping your oral health in check is one of the simplest preventative method that you can practice without the help of a doctor. It involves having a routine brushing session from your teeth after meals, taking enough water and also brushing your tongue properly. Taking regular check-up with the dentist to keep track of your oral hygiene is also a good step.

Your chosen lifestyle will also have a great impact on preventing aspiration pneumonia. If you may be having a tendency of taking too much alcohol, you are risking your body to be prone to the illness. Alcohol equates to a lot of vomiting especially when taken in excess which in the end results to both food and liquid reaching the lungs. To avoid this, a change is recommended, instead of too much alcohol substitute it with other beverages.

In rare cases where preventive measures do not succeed, it is important to pay a visit to the doctor. Here you will be questioned about your general health and have some tests run to ascertain the level of infection. The specialist will then provide a set of medication which may include antibiotics to take away the bacteria in your lungs. It is important to finish your dose of drugs and, taking care if they make you drowsy and practice proper swallowing habits.

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