The Most Frequently Occurring Infections among Seniors That Caregivers Need to Be Aware Of
For adults over the age of 65, infections of various kinds can be extremely troublesome and lead to chronic poor health, an enhanced risk of hospitalization, and fatalities.
Common infections like flu and skin infections are not unusual to all age groups, however, in seniors, they may often be far harder to diagnose.
Because older people suffer from reduced immunity, they are usually more susceptible to infectious diseases, which account for one-third of the deaths of the elderly, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
Some of the more frequently-occurring infections that caregivers of seniors need to be especially careful about:
According to the AAFP, more than 65% of those over the age of 65 get hospitalized due to pneumonia. There are a number of reasons why seniors are at a greater risk for pneumonia; these include increased exposure to the bacteria in community settings, decrease in the lung capacity, and increased susceptibility because of other ailments like diabetes or cardiopulmonary disease.
While the classic symptoms of pneumonia like cough, chills, fever, etc. are less common in seniors, conditions like delirium or confusion may be indicative.
Antibiotic treatment is the recommended course of action for bacterial pneumonia and doctors may even prescribe a pneumococcal vaccine for effective resolution in residents of nursing homes.
The combination of influenza and pneumonia is one of the leading causes of fatalities in America and senior citizens account for 90% of such deaths.
According to https://betterhealthwhileaging.net, often, the occurrence of flu is not easily detected in seniors because the classic symptoms may be missing.
Confirmation of influenza may require an Elisa test to be conducted. While common symptoms like fever, cough, chills, etc. manifest typically, there might be other symptoms in seniors that should not be ignored.
While regular antiviral vaccinations can be effective in preventing infections in seniors, antiviral medication may be prescribed for anyone who is already infected.
Elderly Skin Infections
When the skin ages, its ability to resist disease and heal gets affected, which means that the elderly tend to experience more skin infections.
Typical infections include fungal or bacterial foot infections, cellulitis, shingles, pressure ulcers, or infections that are drug-resistant like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Caregivers of the elderly need to stay alert to unusual pain, lesions or itching that may need treatment. While shingles is easily preventable with the help of a vaccine, other skin infections are treatable. Practicing good hygiene helps to keep skin infections at bay.
Seniors tend to be at a greater risk of developing gastrointestinal infections due to changes in digestive ability and gastrointestinal flora.
Seniors may get nausea, fever, and pain in the upper abdomen as well as gastritis due to Helicobacter pylori while Clostridium difficile, a common infection that causes diarrhea due to the suppression of healthy gastrointestinal flora by antibiotics. Both of these conditions are very common to residents of long-term care facilities.
A combination of drugs is used to treat H. pylori while C. difficile is treated by identifying and stopping the use of the antibiotic that caused the problem.
Keeping the elderly healthy is a continuing process and caregivers have to stay informed and alert all the time to prevent complications. Most of the infections can be prevented or effectively treated to ensure seniors have a better quality of life.