Many of the infections that affect the elderly, especially in long-term care settings, involve direct hand-to-hand contact. Practicing good infection control methods such as proper hand washing or the use of hand-sanitizing gels whenever you are around an elderly person is essential.
Good hygiene: the primary way to prevent infections
1. Washing hands is still the single most-effective way to prevent infections if done before and after preparing food or eating, caring for a sick person or treating a cut or wound.
Here are the five most common infections in the elderly:
The prevalence of increased chronic diseases (e.g., chronic kidney disease, heart failure, lung failure), along with physiological changes caused by aging, frailty, and nutritional problems lead to increased frequency and severity of infections in geriatric patients (8, 36).
Prevent the spread of infectious disease
Top 10 ways to prevent infection
The most important way to reduce the spread of infections is hand washing – frequently wash hands with soap and water, if unavailable use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol). Also important is to get a vaccine for those infections and viruses that have one, when available.
Four infection prevention and process improvement experts weigh-in on the 10 best strategies for prevention of infections.
Infection Control Basics
An effective infection prevention and control program includes the coordinated collection, collation, analysis andreporting of process and outcome data related to infections. Processes include, for example, hand hygiene and vaccination compliance.
11 Risk Factors for Infections Among the Elderly
Bacterial Pneumonia and the Flu Bacterial pneumonia is one of the most common infections for a senior to develop and also very risky, especially if it goes untreated. As the AFP explained, more than 60 percent of people over the age of 65 end up hospitalized due to pneumonia.
A susceptible person is someone who is not vaccinated or otherwise immune, or a person with a weakened immune system who has a way for the germs to enter the body. For an infection to occur, germs must enter a susceptible person’s body and invade tissues, multiply, and cause a reaction.
The effects of aging on the immune system are manifest at multiple levels that include reduced production of B and T cells in bone marrow and thymus and diminished function of mature lymphocytes in secondary lymphoid tissues. As a result, elderly individuals do not respond to immune challenge as robustly as the young.