Common Infections in the Elderly

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on September 9, 2015 in Nursing Home Abuse
Updated on February 24, 2022

sick elderly womanAccording to the American Academy of Family Physicians, one-third of all senior citizens die from infectious diseases.

Infections can be overlooked in older adults, as the signs and symptoms often appear elusive and go unrecognized. Seniors with dementia and those in long-term care are at the highest risk of getting an infection that goes unnoticed.

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Caregivers and families should look carefully for symptoms in the elderly to determine a possible infectious disease. The most common Infections that plague the elderly, include:

Bacteria Pneumonia
More than 60 percent of seniors are admitted into the hospital each year due to this highly transmittable disease. Those living in a closed environment such as a nursing home are particularly susceptible. A pneumococcal vaccine is highly recommended to protect against certain strains. Infection symptoms include delirium, confusion, weakness, fever, chills and a cough.

The elderly are at the highest risk for getting this disease that is the sixth leading cause of death in America. Symptoms include delirium, confusion, weakness, fever and chills.

Urinary Tract Infections
This bacterial infection is very common in older adults, and is one of the hardest diseases to detect. A urinalysis can be performed to determine a urinary tract infection. Antibiotics typically treat these infections. Sudden mental changes, discomfort and confusion are common infection symptoms.

Gastrointestinal Infections
Gastrointestinal Flora and digestion Issues are often very common in the elderly. Two of the most common infections include Helicobacter Pylori and Clostridium. Some symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, upper abdominal pain and fever.

Skin Infections
Painful and itching skin infections that plague the elderly include shingles, bacterial or foot fungal infections, pressure ulcers, cellulitis and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Luckily these infections are typically treatable, and practicing good hygiene can often prevent them from happening. Pain, discomfort and unusual skin itching are some of the symptoms of this type of infection.

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