Elder health Q&A: Urinary tract infections


By Christine Redding

Q: What is a urinary tract infection?

A: A urinary tract infection, also known as a UTI, is a bacterial infection that travels up through your urethra and into your bladder. UTIs are common among elders, especially incontinent woman.

Q: What are some UTI symptoms?

A: It important to note that UTI symptoms change as one ages. Be on the lookout for:

•fever of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit;



•unsteady gait;

•decreased appetite; and

•burning when urinating or lower abdominal discomfort.

Q: Will a UTI go away on its own? Do I really need to make a medical appointment?

A: If you are experiencing the symptoms noted above, it is important to seek prompt medical attention. Your primary care provider will most-likely do a urine analysis and culture to diagnose and treat the infection properly.

Q: What is the treatment for a UTI?

A: There are several effective antibiotics for treatment of a UTI. Be sure to complete the course of antibiotics as directed to prevent a recurrence of infection that may be more difficult to treat.

Q: How can I prevent a UTI?

A: Hydration and personal hygiene are key to UTI prevention. Discarding wet incontinence products in a timely manner will decrease the risk of developing infection. It is vital to maintain the natural ability to combat illness as one ages and prevention is always the best line of defense.

Christine Redding is a nurse practitioner, who specializes in creating all-inclusive, patient-centered care plans for older adults. If you are interested in learning more about PACE at Element Care, call toll free at 877-803-5564 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or visit www.elementcare.org for more information. Archives of articles from previous issues can be read at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com.