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Energy bills: NHS chief warns of 'more deaths' due to the cold

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On March 2, 1987, topical steroids acne treatment Randolph Scott died; his son-in-law, Sam Tyler, pronounced the star passed away, peacefully, in his sleep following recurrent bouts of pneumonia – a condition that is risky to the elderly. Nearing 90 at his time of death, Scott is likely to have needed medical intervention when he developed pneumonia. Usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection, pneumonia describes the moment when lung tissue swells.

While the condition can affect people of any age, it can be “more serious” in the very young, or like Scott, “the elderly”.

“People in these groups are more likely to need hospital treatment if they develop pneumonia,” the NHS certifies.

Symptoms of pneumonia can develop fairly quickly, over a 24-hour period; other times, it can take several days for signs of the infection to present itself.

Common warning signs include:

  • A cough, which may be dry, or produce thick yellow, green, brown or blood-stained mucus (phlegm)
  • Difficulty breathing – your breathing may be rapid and shallow, and you may feel breathless, even when resting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High temperature
  • Feeling generally unwell
  • Sweating and shivering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chest pain, which gets worse when breathing or coughing.

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People taking antibiotics may feel much better before their course of treatment runs out.

No matter how well one feels, if the course of antibiotics hasn’t finished, you must still take them.

If you do not complete a course of antibiotics, the infection can come back – and such a move contributes to antibiotic resistance.

Do speak to your pharmacist if you are concerned about developing pneumonia in the future.

One of Randolph Scott’s classics, The Tall T, is airing on Wednesday, August 31 at 2.50pm on Film4.

While less common, other tell-tale signs could include:

  • Coughing up blood (haemoptysis)
  • Headaches
  • fatigue
  • Feeling sick or being sick
  • Wheezing
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Feeling confused and disorientated, particularly in elderly people.

An ambulance should be called if any of the following takes place; you are:

  • Struggling to breathe
  • Coughing up blood
  • Developing blue lips or a blue face
  • Feeling cold and sweaty, with pale or blotchy skin
  • Developing a rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it
  • Collapsing or fainting
  • Becoming confused or very drowsy
  • Not peeing or are peeing much less than usual.

One viral threat that can lead to pneumonia is SARS-CoV-2 (i.e. coronavirus), although this is highly unlikely to be the infection that Scott had.

When the elderly develop pneumonia, like Scott did, there are higher risks of complications.

One such example is pleurisy, which is where the lining between the lungs and ribcage (called pleura) is inflamed.

Left untreated, this can lead to respiratory failure, which can be fatal.

Moreover, another possible complication of pneumonia is blood poisoning, known as sepsis.

All complications of pneumonia require prompt medical attention within a hospital setting.

Breathing assistance may be necessary, via a ventilator, which will be administered in an intensive care unit (ICU).

For the majority of people, however, pneumonia can usually be cleared in the comfort of their own homes.

In addition to rest and drinking plenty of fluids, if pneumonia is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be needed.

People taking antibiotics may feel much better before their course of treatment runs out.

No matter how well one feels, if the course of antibiotics hasn’t finished, you must still take them.

If you do not complete a course of antibiotics, the infection can come back – and such a move contributes to antibiotic resistance.

Do speak to your pharmacist if you are concerned about developing pneumonia in the future.

One of Randolph Scott’s classics, The Tall T, is airing on Wednesday, August 31 at 2.50pm on Film4.

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