Infections are a major health concern for seniors. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) reports that over one third of mortalities in people over 65 are due to infections. Many infections are preventable. Consider these tips:

• Healthy diet: A well-balanced diet filled with nutrients can help keep the body in top shape to fight off infections.

• Good hygiene: Proper hand washing or use of hand sanitizers around seniors helps curb the risk of spreading infection.

• Keeping active: Keeping seniors physically active can help prevent infections. Exercise keeps the body in good shape and may help facilitate the flow of white blood cells.

• Stress management: Stress weakens the immune system. Helping seniors have good stress management skills can negate the negative effects of stress.

• Vaccines: Vaccines against certain infectious diseases can help reduce the risk. For example, the pneumococcal vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of death from bacterial pneumonia by as much as 80%.

Preventing infections should be a concern for any caregiver. Be sure to stay up to date on any new disease outbreaks and prepare for them appropriately.

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