This time we are going to take a look at common infections, which is a really important topic among senior health issues.
Do infections affect people in the senior population more than for other people? Which are the most common ‘infamous five’ infections? What are the ways to lower the risk of infection?
Seniors = More Vulnerable?
Common infections tend to have a more serious impact as people progress into their senior years. (Except perhaps, for active older adults, as referenced below….)
Several general reasons have been suggested for this, including that it is part of the normal aging process, when many physiological changes occur.
Other factors include:
- The immune system – generally, there is a decline in the functioning of the immune system
- Nutrition – what a person eats and the way the body digests it changes
- The more delicate parts of the respiratory system might function less effectively
- The body becomes susceptible to bacteria
- Changes in the make-up of the blood.
- Contemporaneous existence of another illness or condition.
Each factor can affect each other factor, providing a complex medical ‘playground’ for infections.
Infectious Diseases – Please Don’t Welcome…
Common infectious diseases among seniors are:
(The links provided above are for informative purposes only.)
Lowering the Risk of Infection
The good news is that there are things we can do to lower the risk of infection.
Primarily, the focus is on good practices, including:
- Good physical hygiene for the body, from brushing the teeth to cleaning between the toes.
- Wash hands frequently, especially before eating something. There is no need for over-focusing; the intention is normal cleanliness and hygiene.
- Follow hygienic practices in your environment, such as washing clothing and linen regularly; wiping over counters and tables with convenient disinfectant wipes or, warm soapy water.
- Dispose of tissues in the garbage immediately after using them.
- Be aware of your skin’s health, since the skin is a natural barrier to all infections. Keep infections at bay as you promote healthy skin.
- Cover your face/mouth if you are exposed to someone with an infectious illness. It is wise to keep a healthy distance from anybody with an infection, including the young, as well as mature people.
- Thankfully, hand sanitizers are in fashion, as people of all ages strive to stay healthy. You can find pocket-sized hand sanitizer gels in every pharmacy.
- Follow your doctor’s advice regarding vaccines, as it applies to you.
- Take your medicines, as well as any supplements that the doctor advised.
- Eat well, focus on good, medically-sound nutrition.
A Healthy Lifestyle
Above all, as part of a healthy lifestyle, stay as active and independent as you can. It is said, that people who stay active, generally age more positively and avoid frailty.
Staying happy is said to make for a strong immune system. That means that staying happy and maintaining social connections could make the body a bit readier to fight infection.
Regular exercise, leisure and the correct sleep pattern that each individual needs, will also contribute to a robust immune system.
Read the article on senior recreation and see how keeping the body and mind active can affect the whole body in a good way.
Senior health issues are many and varied. Focusing on the positive, preventative actions as included above will surely have a beneficial impact on the health and lifestyle of a senior.