How to Prevent Infection in Your at-risk Elderly Loved One
Preventing infectious disease is one of the most important factors in the overall health and quality of life of your loved one. Respiratory infections, influenza, and pneumonia are a leading cause of death in people over 65.
For people with chronic health problems like diabetes, it is even more critical to prevent infection. Diabetics are prone to complications from the flu, including pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections. Infections can also make it more difficult to regulate blood sugar.
As we move into flu season, International Infection Prevention Week 2016 (October 16-22) aims to provide education on the continued importance of vaccinations, and general health in preventing infectious disease.
Research suggests that vaccines are less effective against infectious diseases as we age, but medical professionals still recommend vaccines for people 55 and older. Even though vaccines may not completely prevent illness, they can reduce the severity and the duration of the infection, and may lower the risk of hospitalization.
Timing for flu shots is important as well. Vaccines need to last throughout the entire flu season, so waiting until the end of October/November to get flu shots should provide protection through March/April.
Along with making sure your loved one gets their yearly vaccinations, there are other things you can do to help reduce their risk of illness and prevent infection.
Tips for Reducing the Risk of Flu or Pneumonia:
- Smoking increases the risk of infections. Talk to your loved one about quitting, and never smoke around them.
- Do not visit if you have an infection, and make sure the people your loved one is spending time with have had chickenpox and measles vaccines.
- Wash your hands before visiting.
- Keep your loved one’s immune system strong by ensuring they are exercising, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Schedule regular medical screening tests for people in their age group and risk category.
If you have questions about the precautions Paradise Living Centers takes to keep our residents healthy during flu season, call 480.878.4112 today to speak to our Care Manager, Kristie Chadwick.