Each year millions of people throughout the United States suffer from a foodborne infection. Also known as a foodborne illness or food poisoning, these illnesses are caused by pathogens within the food that someone eats. While these illnesses are very common, they result in nearly 130,000 hospitalizations and approximately 3,000 deaths each year. The most severe consequences are particularly common among elderly adults because these seniors tend to have immune systems that are lower and less effective than those of younger people. As a family caregiver it is important that you understand these infections so that you can help your parent to avoid them or to manage them properly if they do arise. One of the most important steps is recognizing the potential signs and symptoms of such an infection.
Some of the signs and symptoms of foodborne infections include:
It is important to note that there are many different types of foodborne illness. Of the cases that have an identifiable cause, approximately 90 percent are caused by seven pathogens, including Salmonella and E. coli. Infection by each of the different types of pathogens can lead to different symptoms that can last for different lengths of time. E. coli, for example, takes between 1 and 3 days to appear and the symptoms can last for 3 to 7 days, while Cyclosporiasis can take between 1 and 14 days to appear and the symptoms can remit for weeks to months. If you suspect that your parent might be suffering a foodborne infection, get in touch with their doctor and describe the symptoms as well as any potentially contaminated food that they consumed, such as undercooked meat, fresh produce, unpasteurized milk, potentially spoiled food, or shellfish.
If you have been looking for a way to help your parent achieve and maintain a higher quality of life as they age in place, starting elder care for them may be the ideal choice. An elderly home care services provider can be with your senior on a schedule that is customized to their individual needs so that they are able to not only manage their challenges and limitations in the way that is right for them, but can also pursue a lifestyle that is as active, engaged, independent, and fulfilling as possible throughout your parent’s later years. This care provider can give your parent a wide range of services that is highly personalized to ensure that they are able to live the quality of life that they desire and deserve. This can include providing safe and reliable transportation to where they need and want to go so that they can maintain more activity and independence, assisting with personal care needs, and encouraging your loved one to make healthy lifestyle choices that can protect their health and well-being. When it comes to protecting your senior from foodborne illness, this care provider can support your parent in ensuring that their food is prepared and stored properly, and that expired foods are removed from the kitchen before they can potentially cause an illness.
For more information about how the caregivers at La Jolla Nurses Homecare can help your aging parents remain in their own homes, call 858-454-9339. We are a home care agency providing quality and affordable elder care in La Jolla, CA, and the surrounding communities.