Foodborne sickness can affect anyone, but the elderly are at an increased risk for being inflicted by food poisoning because as we age our bodies naturally produce less stomach acid, making it difficult to get rid of harmful bacteria that enters our digestive system. Aging may also slow the digestive system, allowing the dangerous bacteria to remain in our bodies longer and do more damage. Awareness is the most effective way to prevent foodborne illness as a part of overall elderly home care.
We could argue that the risk of encountering bacteria in food has increased because of the distance our food travels to get to grocery stores, the amount of food prepared outside of our homes and because stronger, more harmful bacteria have found their way into our foods. Elderly home care providers note that some foods pose a more serious threat than others when it comes to food safety, so be aware of which foods should be avoided.
Raw meats and fishes are a major culprit of foodborne illness. Always be sure to cook meat, poultry and fish thoroughly, and use a food thermometer to check the center temperature of the meat. Unpasteurized dairy products can also be very dangerous for the elderly and should be avoided for food safety reasons. Raw milk, unpasteurized juices, some soft cheeses and raw or partially cooked eggs are known offenders for carrying dangerous bacteria.
Since you cannot see, smell or taste bacteria in food, elderly home care experts advise knowing the symptoms of food poisoning in the unfortunate instance that foodborne illness occurs so that you can detect the symptoms early and seek medical attention immediately. If you have an upset stomach, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and headache or body aches you may want to consider seeing a doctor. Remember that food poisoning does not necessarily happen immediately after eating contaminated food and most people will feel the effects of foodborne illness within 1 to 3 days of consuming tainted food.