Preventing Sepsis in Seniors
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Preventing Sepsis in Seniors

           Sepsis is a serious and life-threatening health condition that can and does affect all age groups. Infants, people with chronic health conditions, and those who have damaged immune systems are all more likely than those without to acquire sepsis. However, adults over the age of 65, particularly those who have health problems, are more prone to sepsis than all other groups and demographics. Adults 65 years of age and older are 13 times more likely than adults younger than 65 to be hospitalized with sepsis, and 63% of older adults admitted to the ICU present with sepsis upon entry. Just as with strokes and heart attacks, sepsis is a critical medical emergency that requires swift diagnosis and treatment to save the health and life of the patient.

            Sepsis is when the body’s normal reactions to illness go awry. Typically, the body combats infections by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream, and sepsis is when this process is an overreaction. The response can reduce blood pressure and cause harm to the vital organs and tissues of the body. Without treatment, septic shock may develop, which is a potentially fatal illness in which organs experience reduced functioning or stop altogether.

            Sepsis can affect anyone at any age. Infants, older adults, and people who are already experiencing struggles with their health are at the greatest risk. Those who are most likely to develop sepsis include people who are older than 65, or under the age of one, those with ongoing health conditions such as diabetes or a compromised immune system, and patients who have previously experienced sepsis.

            Rapid onset of sepsis is possible. As the body attacks healthy tissues and organs, those with sepsis will likely experience considerable amounts of pain. In the elderly, signs of sepsis include rapid respiration and rapid heartbeat, confusion or disorientation, insufficient breath, perspiration or clammy skin, and finally one of the major signs is fever and shivering.

            The body’s inability to fend off infections is the root cause of sepsis, which can be caused by various bacterial and viral diseases such as COVID, E. coli, flu, staph, or even urinary tract infections. While sepsis can be treated with swift intervention, preventing it from occurring at all is the best plan.

            Maintain effective management of chronic diseases. Those with diabetes, for example, should make sure to keep their glucose at recommended levels, as well as practice good hygiene and monitor skin and feet for any changes or ulcers.

            Adhering to vaccination schedules is also important. Don’t neglect to receive your yearly flu vaccine, as well as others your doctor recommends. Pneumonia is the leading cause of sepsis, so inquire about receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

            Ensure that anyone providing care follows all the best practices to avoid spreading illnesses. Handwashing, sanitization protocols, and regular disinfecting should all be observed. Bedridden patients need to be rotated and repositioned every two hours to prevent bed sores, which can progress into infections and then pneumonia. It is also a good idea to learn the signs and symptoms of sepsis so that it can be identified and treated quickly.