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7 Common Illnesses to Prevent This Summer

By Melissa Hill, 9:00 am on

Colds and flus are most active during the late fall and winter months, but there are plenty of other bugs to watch out for during the summer. With that in mind, here are seven illnesses Oklahoma at-home caregivers can help their senior loved ones avoid.

1. Enterovirus

This virus has numerous strains and is spread through contact with an infected person or through contact with contaminated water. Generally, enterovirus enters the water through feces contaminated with the virus. Once someone in the household has caught enterovirus, it can easily spread to other family members. You can protect your senior loved one by swimming in clean bodies of water, wearing nose plugs while swimming and not swallowing the water you swim in.

2. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

This disease usually shows symptoms no later than fourteen days after contact with an infected tick, but may show up as soon as two days. It’s so named for its telltale spotted rash and is accompanied by fever, nausea and vomiting, and body aches. The disease is not only found within the Rockies. It’s possible to contract the disease anywhere in the U.S. To keep you and your senior loved one safe, be sure to dress appropriately when going to any area with tall grass and trees. Long pants, sleeves, high socks, and boots as well as spraying yourselves with a DEET-based insect repellant can help keep ticks away.

3. Lyme Disease

Another disease spread by ticks, Lyme disease can become serious quickly. The symptoms are similar to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Without early intervention, the disease can easily begin to affect the nervous system, the joints, and even the heart. One key to protecting your senior loved one from Lyme disease is wearing proper clothing and DEET-based repellent when going to areas with tall grass. Another way to protect your senior loved one is to keep a list of the symptoms posted where you can see it throughout the summer. Knowing the symptoms gives you the chance to get medical help early on to prevent further problems.

4. E. Coli

These nasty bacteria can be found in a myriad of locations all year round. While most people naturally have some E. Coli in their intestines, the immune system is generally able to keep it in check. However, being exposed to E. Coli from another source can start a serious infection. Two of the most common sources E. Coli can be found in contaminated water and in undercooked meat. Remember to pick clean swimming areas and cook all meat thoroughly to reduce the risk of contracting E. Coli.

5. West Nile Virus

While it’s less common than other summer illnesses, West Nile Virus does appear more frequently during the hotter months. While most cases are mild and easily treated, about one percent of those affected develop neurological symptoms and may die. Keep your loved one safe by using strong mosquito repellent. Reapply the repellent every few hours, wear protective clothing, and light citronella candles to protect your senior loved one from West Nile and itchy mosquito bites.

6. Whooping Cough

Whooping cough is on the rise because the vaccination wears off and few people make it a priority to get protective boosters. During the summer, vacation spots, summer camps, and other gathering places are the most common places to contract whooping cough. Take your senior loved one to the doctor to get a whooping cough booster shot during the beginning of summer. After that, encourage everyone in the household to practice good hygiene to further ward off this disease.

7. Food Poisoning

It’s easy to confuse food poisoning with the common flu because it often includes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Getting immediate treatment is important for seniors because dehydration is a common problem. Food poisoning is common in the summer because warmer temperatures encourage the growth of bacteria on food much more rapidly. To protect your family, make sure you monitor the temperature of your food, especially when during outings like picnics. Put groceries or leftovers away in the refrigerator promptly, and toss out any questionable food or beverages.

Safeguard your loved one’s health this summer by calling Home Care Assistance of Oklahoma at 405-285-4191. We are a reliable Oklahoma senior home care agency that provides comprehensive at-home services designed to bolster senior confidence and wellbeing in the comfort of home. Talk with a friendly Care Manager today to set up a free consultation and customize a care plan for your loved one.