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What Are the 5 Most Common Infections Among the Elderly in NYC?

Bacterial and viral infections affect millions of Americans each year. For young people, they’re often easily treated and quickly resolved. For adults over the age of 65, on the other hand, it’s not uncommon for complications to develop after an infection, which can lead to chronic poor health, ongoing discomfort, and a higher risk of hospitalization. In fact, a third of all deaths in seniors over 65 are a result of an infectious disease. Nursing homes alone average 2 million infections per year.

It’s crucial that you stay alert to any sudden changes in health and take steps to ward off infections before it’s too late. Risk factors for nursing home residents include old age, long-term institutionalization, functional status problems, prior antibiotic use, the presence of an indwelling device, and other pre-existing illnesses. If you have an elderly family member, make sure that you’re aware of the most common nursing home infections.

The Most Common Infections Among the Elderly

Because symptoms often go unnoticed—primarily because seniors don’t typically experience a heightened fever with infection the way younger people do—illnesses can be much harder to diagnose for elderly adults and nursing home residents. Nonspecific symptoms, such as a decline in functioning, lack of control over the bladder, loss of appetite, and mental status changes may be the presenting signs of infection.

The key to reducing many of the complications and risks associated with these illnesses is early detection. With the right prevention measures, many of these infections are avoidable. Likewise, understanding some of the more common infections in the elderly and their warning signs is vital. Here are the five most common infections for adults over the age of 65.

Bacterial Pneumonia and Influenza

It’s relatively common for an unattended respiratory infection like influenza to develop into a severe lung inflammation like pneumonia. This combination is the fifth leading cause of death among seniors because of diminished lung capacity, exhausted immune systems, and pre-existing conditions. For nursing home residents, it’s important to get a pneumococcal vaccine to prevent pneumonia. Annual flu vaccinations are also recommended to avoid influenza.

Skin Infections

Viral skin infections are common among the elderly because their skin takes longer to heal, making it more difficult to fight infection and resist disease. Look out for any pain, itching, unfamiliar marks, rashes, or mild fevers. Common skin infections in older people include fungal foot infections, cellulitis, and shingles.

Urinary Tract Infections

UTIs are the most common bacterial infection in older adults and arise when bacteria—often from the skin or rectum—enter the urethra and infect the urinary tract. They tend to be mild and easily treated. If left untreated, however, complications can arise. UTI symptoms are often overlooked, leading to misdiagnosis. Discomfort and pain aren’t typical for seniors with UTIs. Instead, keep an eye out for sudden changes in behavior such as confusion or worsening of dementia.

Gastrointestinal Infections

There are various types of bacterial infections that affect the stomach and the small intestine, but helicobacter pylori and clostridium difficile are the most common. Seniors have a particularly high risk of developing these types of infections because of changes in their digestion. Both illnesses are common in long-term care facilities and are treated by staying hydrated, consuming healthy foods, and taking over-the-counter medicines to treat the pain.

Soft Tissue Infections

Two of the most common soft tissue infections seen in nursing home patients are cellulitis and pressure ulcers. Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and its surrounding tissue. It often appears suddenly around a cut or wound. Pressure ulcers are the most common form of soft tissue infection in nursing home abuse and occur when the resident remains in one position for too long without being moved. The best way to protect your loved one from skin infections is through regular inspections, proper nutrition, and hydration.

When a nursing home resident isn’t receiving the necessary hygiene and medical care, serious infections can occur. If you suspect that nursing home abuse may be the culprit for your loved one’s infection, contact an experienced lawyer today.

Call an Expert Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in New York City

If your loved one has suffered an infection because of nursing home neglect, discuss your options with the trusted attorneys at Dalli and Marino, LLP. After evaluating your situation and investigating your claim, our legal team will represent you and your family and work hard to recover monetary damages for the pain and suffering you or your loved one endured.

We’re a group of successful nursing home abuse lawyers whose verdicts and settlements have recovered millions of dollars for our clients since 1996. Our team of highly skilled trial attorneys approaches each case on an individual basis and are dedicated to helping you recover the money you deserve. Give us a call at (888) 465-8790 or complete our contact form today.