Health risks such as staph infections can take a toll on seniors. Older adults who practice good hygiene and get the help they need around the house have a better chance of staying healthy.
Q. Staph infections are a serious health threat. Are seniors at risk as well? As an 82-year-old widow I’d like to know my risks and what I can do about them. I’m finding that caring for myself is becoming more of a challenge.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that senior citizens were four times more likely to be hit by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) than other adults. This study revealed that while the incidence rate of invasive MRSA for 2005 was 31.8 per 100,000 persons, it was a much higher 127.7 per 100,000 for senior citizens (those aged 65 and older).1
MRSA has become the most frequent cause of skin and soft tissue infections among patients going to emergency departments in the U.S., and can also cause severe, sometimes fatal invasive disease. What’s particularly frightening is that this disease is being found more often outside of health-care settings, according to the report.
Methicillin is used to treat penicillin-resistant infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), good hygiene helps prevent staph and MRSA skin infections. Here’s what you can do:
- Keep hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water.
- Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with a proper dressing (e.g., bandage) until healed.
- Avoid contact with other people's wounds or material contaminated from wounds.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.2
If you are concerned about caring for yourself, why not seek assistance around the home? Companies are available to provide non-medical care such as companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands and shopping. The Home Instead Senior Care® network is the largest organization of this type in the world, with a total of more than 900 offices worldwide.
A Home Instead CAREGiverSM can help you keep your environment clean and safe. CAREGivers can be employed from just a few hours a week up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week including holidays.
1. Online at http://pubs.ama-assn.org/media/2007j/1016.dtl#1.
2. Online at http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/index.html.