As we age, our bodies do not have the same ability to protect themselves like they could before. One-third of people over the age of 65 die because of an infectious disease.
Read more about what you can do to prevent and treat infections in the elderly and keep your loved ones healthy.
An infection occurs when germs known as microbes (bacteria, fungi, parasites or viruses) invade your body. This attack can lead to disease, illness or organ damage.
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Infections in the elderly are a serious health problem because an infection can quickly take hold of the body and lead to life-threatening conditions.
We can get an infection from numerous places like:
Infections can also appear when skin is not intact. Our skin serves as a barrier of protection for our internal organs. When the skin breaks down, bacteria and viruses can enter your body, causing a skin infection.
Depending on the type of infection, seniors will see different symptoms as the body tries to kill the bacteria or virus.
Here are some common types of symptoms that are seen with an infection:
The best way to deal with an infection is to catch it early and to treat it effectively.
To prevent illness, it is important that seniors keep their body’s defenses as strong as possible.
Remember these tips for staying healthy:
Seniors can also take these steps to keep the body functioning well enough to fight off microbes naturally and quickly:
Good nutrition will provide the body with the energy it needs to fight off infections, as well as maintain energy and strength.
Pack the body full of high nutrient foods like:
Pay special attention to including probiotics in a senior’s diet such as yogurt with live cultures. Probiotics are the good bacteria that keep the bad bacteria from making a home in the gut.
Stress has been shown to impair the immune system. When the body is under a constant level of anxiety and worry, we can become worn down. Learn how to manage stress so that the body can relax and recover.
This can sometimes be as simple as remembering to look out the window or take a few deep breaths. Try to make a mental list of all the things your parent or senior loved one appreciates or enjoys in life.
Exercise is foundational for maintaining health and fighting off infections in the elderly. There are various theories on how physical activity can keep us from getting sick:
When we are sick, we need to make sure to take time to rest, but also make it a priority to exercise when we’re healthy.
Keeping the body healthy is important to preventing infections in the elderly, but there are times when it’s appropriate to seek medical attention.
See a doctor if a parent or senior loved one has:
It is often easier to prevent an infection than to try and treat one, so we hope you’ll use these steps to plan how to keep yourself and your elderly loved ones infection-free.
What other questions do you have about preventing infections in the elderly? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.