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A Guide to Signs of Infections and How to Prevent Them in Seniors

One thing that a lot of people know is that seniors are more prone to catching infections. If you are a caregiver for an older person, knowing the signs of infections, preventing infections and when it’s important for them to see a doctor.

How do Infections Happen?

Infections happen when microbes, which are germs (fungi, bacteria, viruses or parasites) get into the body. This often will lead to organ damage, disease or illness.

Infection in a senior is a severe health issue since infections often can turn into something worse because their immune system is compromised.

Someone can get an infection from places such as:

  • The air
  • Our food
  • The soil
  • The water

An infection also can happen when there’s a break in the skin. The skin serves as a protective barrier for the body’s internal organs. When there’s a break in our skin, viruses and bacteria can get into the body and cause an infection in the skin.

Infection Symptoms

Based on the kind of the infection, there are different symptoms that a senior might experience as their body tries killing the virus or bacteria.

Below are some of the common symptoms that anyone who has an infection is going to see.

  • Coughing – This is the way that the body uses to get those infectious microbes from their body. A cough that’s strong also is often used for keeping the person’s airway clear, cleaning out the mucus and opening up stressed lungs so that the body can get some more oxygen.
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea – This is another common problem that people who have infections have. When your system’s being invaded with microbes, your immune system’s going to respond by doing its best to get rid of them quickly.
  • Fatigue – When someone is sick, they often will sleep. This is what the body will do when it’s recovering from and repairing the damage from an illness. Its the body’s way of demanding that the person slows down and rests to allow their system to work a lot more effectively.
  • Fever – A lot of microbe types are only able to survive certain body temperatures. That’s why a person who is often ill will have a fever because it will kill off the microbes.
  • Muscle aches – Anytime someone is sick, the body is going to release chemicals, and these help the body’s white blood cells in their fight against the infection. These chemicals can cause those aches in the body.

One of the best ways that you can deal with infections is early detection and effective treatment.

The best way to deal with an infection is to catch it early and to treat it effectively.

When a Senior Should Go to the Doctor

Keeping a body healthy is very important to prevent the infections in a senior, as is noted below. But it’s important to know when the person should go to the doctor.

When a senior should see a doctor:

  • They have a cough for longer than 7 days
  • They have a fever longer than 2 days or 48 hours
  • There’s swelling or a rash
  • They have a headache accompanied by a fever
  • They have been bitten by an animal
  • They are having trouble breathing
  • They are having issues with their vision that seem to happen quickly

Ways That Infections Can Be Prevented in Seniors

To prevent someone who is elderly, it’s important that To prevent illness, it is important that the following tips are used for seniors and their

  • Covering sneezes and coughs
  • Not sharing utensils and drinks
  • Getting vaccinated
  • Practicing safe sex
  • Safe preparation of food
  • Washing your hands

Along with these tips above, below are some tips that seniors can use for helping themselves stay healthy.

Eat Nourishing Foods

Having good nutrition is going to help with providing their body with the necessary energy for fighting off the infections. This will also help them with maintaining strength and energy.
Some of the foods that are high in nutrients are things like:

  • Fruit
  • Dark and leafy greens
  • Protein
  • Healthy fats
  • Vegetables
  • Probiotics

Probiotics are things like yogurt that has live cultures in it. these are good bacteria and they’ll help with keeping bad bacteria away from taking up residence inside their gut.

Practice some good stress management

It’s been proven that stress can impair your immune system. When your body’s under a lot of worry and anxiety, we often get worn down. You want to learn the way to manage your stress to give your body time for relaxing and recovering.

Doing this might mean doing as easy to take some deep breaths or look out your window. It’s also a good idea to make a list of the things that the person enjoys or appreciates in their life.

Stay Active

Exercise is essential for fighting off the infections when you’re elderly and helping them stay healthy. There are a few theories about why physical activity often will keep people from getting ill.

  • A body temperature that’s elevated can help with killing off the bad bacteria when they’re exercising.
  • Exercise might help with moving the antibodies faster for attacking germs
  • Exercise could help with getting the bacteria from your lungs
  • Exercise can help with reducing levels of stress

When you are sick, it’s important that you are taking the time to let your body rest. However, when you are feeling good, you want to make sure that you’re staying active.

Here are some ways that seniors can stay active:

  • Taking walks
  • Playing mahjong or cards
  • Gardening
  • Swimming at a senior center
  • Walking a dog
  • Playing with grandchildren
  • Doing seated exercises if they’re in a wheelchair
  • Doing seek and find or crossword puzzles

When seniors are more active, they are going to be healthier and happier. Even doing small things can help them with combating depression. The healthier and more active they are, the longer they will live. The activities above will help keep them active and their mind sharp.

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