May 222012

Unfortunately it happens. We all get sick from time to time. The best thing to do is have someone else take over the
care of your parent if possible and for you to stay away from your elderly parent.

If you must provide care there are some precautions you should take. Always wash your hands prior to giving any care or before handing them anything. As an extra precaution where disposable gloves but remember, gloves do not take the place of hand washing. And in this case sanitizer will not take the place of soap and water. If there is a risk of your illness being airborne you should wear a mask when you are within three feet of your elderly parent. I know masks are uncomfortable but for the elderly a cold can be pneumonia and possibly death.

You will also want to wipe down any surfaces you touch such as doorknobs, telephones, handles of appliances, and faucets with either a commercial disinfectant cleaner or a ten percent bleach-water solution you mix yourself. Bleach is an easy and cheap disinfectant and is actually more effective at killing germs when diluted than straight out of the bottle. (Who knew?) It is also a corrosive and will eat through stainless steel so wipe surfaces off with water after spraying.

The chlorine in bleach degrades rapidly when exposed to light and should be discarded after twenty-four hours. Mix it in an opaque bottle to prevent light from entering. Bleach expires. Bleach begins degrading after six months and looses twenty percent of effectiveness each year. Never, ever, ever mix bleach and ammonia. This combination forms a poisonous gas that can kill you! Never add bleach to commercial disinfectants because of possibly dangerous chemical reactions.

Do not put off seeking medical assistance for yourself if you are ill. Delaying treatment can cause a prolonged recovery time or lead to a more serious illness. If you are a full-time caregiver chances are your stress level is high and your immune system is not quite up to par. Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest.

If you suspect your parent is coming down with an infection do not delay getting them to the doctor. As mentioned before, elderly often have compromised immune systems making it harder for them to recover from even minor illnesses.

Tomorrow we will look at what to do if your parent has a contagious illness.


  10 Responses to “Infection Control Part 4 – What if you get sick?”

  1. Quite technical advice. Thanks for the clear instructions.
    Memorias USB Publicitarias Perú

  2. I again learned from your site – bleach more effective diluted, amazing – thank you.

    Lyle R. Johnson – aka The Sales Wizard

    Verifying Sales Response with Eye Patterns

  3. Thanks for pointing out that even though you are a caregiver, medical care is still very important for you.

    Mark Hogan

  4. If you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of anyone else. Staying healthy helps both the caregiver and the sick parent.

  5. Suzanne, these are all great tips on how to deal with infections of the elderly or even children.
    Scott Sylvan Bell
    Body language of steepling
    Now go implement!

  6. Thank you caregiver needs to care for themselves and their sick parent.
    Looking forward to tomorrow!
    Help I’m a Caregiver?

  7. bleach is powerful and must be used with great care.

  8. Suzanne,
    Thank you for the life saving advice to never mix bleach and ammonia. I did not know it – it is huge.

    Covert Hypnosis: 3 Tips To The Maxims Of Persuasion

  9. Bleach works wonders….

    Sales Expert

  10. Good advice. One of the more common disinfectants we use at the hospital has a fancy name [ which we probably pay through the roof for ] but when you get down to it..bleach.
    Be Well.

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