E. Coli is a kind of bacteria that exists in everyone’s intestines and in the intestines of animals. Most kinds of E. Coli are fairly harmless. They just cause a mild case of diarrhea that resolves on its own.
However, some strains are more dangerous and can lead to food poisoning. In some cases, older adults can develop a dangerous kind of kidney failure that can cause death because of E. Coli. Understanding what E. Coli is and how you can prevent your aging relative’s food from being contaminated with it can help to prevent illness.
Where Does E. Coli Come From?
There are a variety of places that E. Coli comes from, including:
- Contaminated Food: Eating food that is contaminated is the most common way of getting an E. Coli infection. Meat can be contaminated by E. Coli in the animal’s intestine during slaughter. Ground beef is particularly susceptible to contamination because it combines meat from several animals. Milk that is not pasteurized is also a common source because E. Coli can be present on the animal’s udder or on equipment used for milking. Even produce can be contaminated because of runoff from nearby cattle farms and the fertilizer used for growing.
- Contaminated Water: Water can contain E. Coli because of human and animal feces. Municipal facilities take steps to kill bacteria, but outbreaks associated with a municipal water supply have occurred. Wells are more likely to be infected because they usually don’t have a system for disinfecting the water.
- Contact: Contact with an animal, especially sheep, goats, and cattle, and not washing hands can lead to infection. This can also happen from contact with the feces of a person who is infected.
How Can It Be Prevented?
One of the best ways to prevent E. Coli infection is to use good hygiene. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends thoroughly washing hands in these situations:
- After using the bathroom.
- Before preparing food.
- Before eating.
- After touching animals.
When soap and water are not available for washing, seniors should use a hand sanitizer that contains alcohol.
Another way to protect your aging relative is to make sure they are observing safety protocol for preparing and storing foods. Produce should be thoroughly washed before eating and meat should be cooked through. Avoid cross-contamination by washing anything that touches raw meat.
Home care providers can help seniors to avoid E. Coli infection. A home care provider can remind the older adult to wash their hands when appropriate. They can even assist with handwashing if the older adult has trouble doing it for themselves. Home care providers can also help seniors with cooking, making sure they are careful to wash produce and prevent cross-contamination.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elder Care in Glenolden, PA, please contact the friendly staff at Suma Home Care.
Call today: (484) 206-4544
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