Caregivers in Darien, CT
Illness and infection can happen at any time of the year, but they reach their peak during the fall and winter season. Understanding the most common of these illnesses and how you can respond to them helps you to devise an approach within your caregiver plan to help protect your elderly loved ones and yourself so that you can enjoy a healthier, stronger end of the year.
One of the most common illnesses during the fall and winter, and the single leading cause of missed days of work or school, is respiratory infection. Also referred to as upper respiratory infection, this illness is characterized by viruses or bacteria that enter the upper respiratory system and cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms.
The most common symptoms of respiratory infections include:
- Nasal congestion
- Nasal discharge
- Nasal breathing
- Runny nose
- Scratchy throat
- Sore throat
- Overall feeling of illness, malaise
Though most of these infections are fairly mild, they can become more serious in elderly adults who do not have immune systems strong enough to ward off the infections, or to fight them off successfully should they occur. This can lead to more serious complications, including the increased risk for developing pneumonia.
Respiratory infections are highly contagious, which means that if you are dealing with one, or one of your children is dealing with one, you should not have contact with your elderly parents until you are confident that the infection has completely passed and you no longer carry the germs. Get in touch with the elder care agency in your area to discuss hiring a respite care provider who can step in when you are ill to provide your loved ones with the care and assistance that they need to stay safe, healthy, and happy so you can focus on getting better.
If your parents do contract an upper respiratory infection, some things you can do to help them feel better and support their bodies' efforts to heal include:
• Ensure that they get plenty of rest to allow their bodies to fight the infection
• Practice aggressive germ control to help prevent the spread of the illness and re-contamination
• Help their bodies to release more of the nasal secretions that make breathing difficult by surrounding them in warm, moist air. You can accomplish this by using a warm air vaporizer, or by running a very hot shower for a few minutes and then letting your parents stand in the steamy bathroom to breathe in the warm air
• Serve them plenty of hot beverages such as broth, hot chocolate, warm milk, or hot tea to soothe the sinuses, oral tissues, and chest
• Offer plenty of clear fluids to keep the body well hydrated and encourage germ fighting, as well as to loosen and thin out discharge so that it is easier to expel
If your parents have been suffering the symptoms of a respiratory infection for more than ten days, or their symptoms have worsened significantly, get in touch with their doctor to have them seen as soon as possible, because something else may be at play.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Darien, CT or the surrounding areas, please contact SYNERGY HomeCare of Stamford, CT at 203-661-6969.