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Reducing the Risk of Urinary Tract Infections
Posted: 2/2/2017 8:17 AM by
Urinary tract infections are one of the most common types of infections, particularly for elderly adults. More than half of women will experience one or more UTIs throughout her adult years, and though they are not as common in men, they can and do happen. This type of infection can be a serious and potentially dangerous experience in your elderly care journey with your aging loved one, putting her at greater risk of developing further infections and illnesses due to the suppressing effect that the infection has on her immune system, and potentially causing cognitive symptoms that can put her wellbeing and quality of life at serious risk. While this type of infection is easily treatable when caught early, the best way to prevent the often serious complications and consequences of a UTI is to prevent the infection in the first place.
Elderly adults tend to experience urinary tract infections more commonly and with greater frequency than younger adults and children, and the consequences associated with these infections tend to be more serious and long lasting. With a few simple lifestyle changes, however, you can help to greatly reduce the chances that your parent will suffer such an infection, and can help to reduce the severity of the infection should one arise.
Use these tips to help lower the risk that your aging loved one will deal with a UTI:
Drink plenty of water.
Getting enough water is absolutely essential to good health, and it can make a dramatic difference in your parent's risk of developing a UTI. Drinking plenty of water ensures that you urinate frequently, constantly flushing the bacteria out of your system. This prevents it from settling into your urinary tract and flourishing into an infection.
Drink cranberry juice.
The science behind this recommendation is not completely conclusive, but there are enough studies and anecdotal evidence to make it worth the effort. This information shows that compounds in cranberries prevent the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract and remove bacteria that is already there, preventing infections and helping to hasten the healing of current infections. Eating concentrated forms of cranberries such as cranberry jelly can also be effective.
Ensure that your elderly loved one is using proper hygiene methods after using the restroom and when bathing. If your parent has difficulty cleaning herself properly, an elderly health care services provider can be extremely helpful in assisting with this task in a way that is healthy, effective, and dignified.
Keep the area clean and dry.
Make sure that your parent changes her undergarments at least once a day and that she avoids wearing clothing that makes her body overly hot and sweaty. If she suffers from incontinence, make sure that she is properly cleaned as soon as there is an incident and is always in clean, dry clothing to prevent the growth of bacteria.
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