Symptoms of Airborne Infection in the Elderly

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Information about Symptoms of Airborne Infection in the Elderly
Health & Medicine

Published on June 16, 2013

Author: Novaerus



Airborne Infection in the Elderly can sometimes go undetected. MRSA, Cdiff and VRE are also running rampant in nursing homes, hospitals and long term care facilities. Make sure you or the healthcare facility you place your loved ones into have the technology in place to monitor and prevent airborne infections.

Symptoms of Airborne Infection in the ElderlyUsually, when you’re trying to diagnose infections in people, you look for signs like fever, vomiting chillsetc. However, when it comes to elder care, these signs are often absent and replaced by other signs such assubnormal temperature, feeling disoriented, feeling tired and eating less. Since these are things that can occurwith or without an infection, we tend not to pay attention to them. However, when it comes to the elderly,especially elderly that live in long term care facilities, it’s a good idea to take note of small changes in physicaland mental well-being. If your elderly parent is over the age of 65, then keep in mind that s/he may not displaythe usual array of symptoms but might complain of other things which are indicative of an airborne infection.The Body’s Response to Airborne InfectionUsually, when a body is attacked by airborne bacteria, it does its best to fend it off and most of the time, itsucceeds. However, in some cases, the infection is too strong and takes over the body. The symptoms thatwe generally see in infections, such as fever, are really caused by the immune system to defend the body. Inthe elderly, the immune system is weaker because of age, so it can’t mount the same kind of offensive againstinfection that it used to.

MRSA, C diff and VREIn addition, it is a good idea to keep a lookout for signs of infection in the elderly because of the emergence ofsuperbugs like MRSA, Clostridium difficile and VRE. MRSA is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus andcan be diagnosed by getting a culture of body fluid—blood, urine or sputum. It can be treated with Vancomycinbut a small amount of bacteria always remains in the body and can cause the infection to reoccur later.Clostridium difficile or C diff and VRE or Vancomycin-resistant enterococci both occur when antibiotics kill offthe beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract and cause harmful bacteria to proliferate. They lead to diarrhea,and treatment includes fluid intake to counteract dehydration, a bland diet and taking antibiotics that will allowthe beneficial bacteria in the intestines to develop once again.So the next time an elderly person complains of fatigue or disorientation, be sure to take them seriously asthese could be the symptoms of an airborne infection.Visit more information about diagnosing and preventing infections in the elderly.

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