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Seniors often have to deal with a number of aches and pains due to medication use, stress, or simply the effects of aging. One common issue seniors face is developing middle ear infections. There are many ways seniors can contract ear infections. Here are six of the most common causes Albuquerque, NM, caregivers should keep in mind.
1. Swimmer’s Ear
If your senior loved one spends a lot of time in the water and frequently develops ear infections, the cause may be related to water getting trapped in the ear. Bacteria in the water as well as the constant wetness of the ear canal from sitting water can cause a painful ear infection known as Swimmer’s Ear. Encourage your senior loved one to wear snug earplugs while swimming and dry out the ears with a towel or hair dryer as soon as he or she gets out of the water.
2. Bacterial or Viral Infection
Sometimes a bacteria or viruses can get into your senior loved one’s ear causing an infection. The ears are an opening into the body, which makes them an easy target for bacteria and viruses. To help your senior loved one prevent a bacterial or viral ear infection, encourage your loved one to avoid those who are sick and have your loved one wash his or her hands after being exposed to other people.
3. A Secondary Complication
Ear infections often develop as a secondary complication to another type of illness like a common cold, flu, or sinus infection. Fluid buildup and pressure in the ear canal, Eustachian tubes, and adenoids during and following these types of illnesses can irritate the ear and cause an infection. Helping your senior practice good hygiene can help prevent the initial illness that can lead to a secondary ear infection. Likewise, help your senior loved one keep fluid and pressure in the ear canal down using over-the-counter or natural remedies designed to relieve ear pressure.
4. Drinking While Lying Down
Since many seniors spend more time lying down and resting, it isn’t uncommon for seniors to bring a glass of water, warm milk, tea or other beverage to bed. While this can help your senior loved one stay hydrated, drinking while lying down can cause fluid to drain into the ear canal and increase the risk of middle ear infections. Live-in caregivers in Albuquerque should prop their senior loved ones up with several pillows or help them sit up to drink. Likewise, encourage your loved one to sit up for a little bit after drinking and before lying down again.
5. Time of Year
Allergy seasons are a peak time for ear infections since the ears are a part of the body most affected by allergy symptoms. When your senior loved one has allergies, fluid buildup and other allergy symptoms can put added pressure on the ears and start an ear infection. Luckily, today’s technology makes it easy to monitor the counts of most known allergens. During allergy season, encourage your loved one to take an over-the-counter allergy pill like Claritin or Zyrtec to keep symptoms in check before they develop. If allergy symptoms do develop, use secondary medications to help treat their symptoms. Staying on top of allergy symptoms is the easiest way to prevent subsequent ear infections.
Safeguard your loved one’s health and wellbeing all year long with help from Home Care Assistance of Albuquerque. Our comprehensive Albuquerque senior care services are designed to help seniors remain at home while our expertly trained caregivers offer assistance with daily activities including housekeeping, personal care, and errands. Call 505-798-0800 today to learn more and set up a free in-home consultation.