SENIOR CARE AWARENESS: STAPH INFECTIONS
One of the most pressing risks in your senior care journey with your aging loved ones is infection. Older adults tend to be more prone to infections than younger adults due to suppressed immune systems, and less capable of naturally fighting them off with their body's own resistance. This means that what would likely be a minor infection for a younger adult can turn into something very severe for an older adult due to that senior's inability to recover successfully. Understanding the different types of infections, the risks associated with them, and how they can be prevented or managed is an important element of being a compassionate and effective caregiver. One very common, but potentially very serious, infection that could impact your aging loved ones is a staph infection. Caused by a bacteria called Staphylococcus, this type of infection can range from minor irritation that is easily treated to treatment-resistant flesh-eating varieties depending on the type of exposure and the manner in which the bacteria entered the body. Some things that you should know about staph infections include: • The bacteria that causes these infections is very common. Around 25 percent of the population naturally carries the bacteria around in their mouth, or nose, but do not experience any symptoms of infection. Some people also regularly have it on their feet. • The infection often begins with a small cut or scrape in the skin that forms a yellowish crust. • Most infections are treatable with antibiotics, but due to the overuse of antibiotics in this country the treatment-resistant forms are very common. • Staph infections are very common and severe among the segments of the population with weaker immune systems, including the elderly. • The form of staph that impacts the deep layers of the skin is known as cellulitis and is particularly prevalent among those with weakened immune systems or diabetes. • Staph infection can spread from person to person when an uninfected person comes into contact with an infected person or something that the infected person has contaminated, such as clothing, towels, or surfaces. • These infections are often treatable with antibiotics, but if they are resistant and the infection goes deep enough, they may require surgical cleaning. Common symptoms of staph infection include: • Redness • Tenderness • Swelling • Pain • Chills • Sweating • Skin ulcer or open sore • Boils • Fever Some ways that you and your parents' senior’s caregiver can help manage staph infections include: • Any time your parent has a cut or otherwise compromised skin, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned with soap and water, kept dry, and properly covered. • Use proper precautions when handling anything that an infected person may have touched or been near, including wearing gloves. • If there is any pain, redness, or swelling at the site of a skin injury, get medical attention as quickly as possible. • Always wear foot coverings while using public restrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms. Get in touch with the elder care agency in your area to find out more about hiring a senior home care services provider who can enhance your parents' life with a customized care approach.