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Food Safety for Older Adults January 15, 2019

Food Safety for Older Adults, ,

Article provided by: 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food & Drug Administration

As we age, it is normal for our bodies not to work as well as they did when we were younger. Changes in our organs and body systems are expected as we grow older. These changes often make us more susceptible to contracting a food borne illness or food poisoning. For example, our stomach and intestinal tract may hold on to foods for a longer period of time; our liver and kidneys may not readily rid our bodies of toxins; and our sense of taste or smell may be altered.

• By the age of 65, many of us have been diagnosed with one or more chronic conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer, or cardiovascular disease, and are taking at least one medication.

The side effects of some medications or the chronic disease process may weaken the immune system, causing older adults to be more susceptible to contracting a food borne illness.

• After the age of 75 years and older, many adults often have a weakened immune system and are at an increased risk for contracting a food borne illness.

• Essentially, as we age, our immune system and other organs in our bodies have become a bit sluggish in recognizing and ridding the body of harmful bacteria and other pathogens that cause infections, such as food borne illness. Should older adults contract a food borne illness, you are more likely to have a lengthier illness, undergo hospitalization, or even die.

• To avoid contracting a food borne illness, older adults must be especially vigilant when handling, preparing, and consuming foods. Make safe food handling a lifelong commitment to minimize your risk of food borne illness. Be aware that as you age, your immunity to infection naturally is weakened.

Make safe food handling a lifelong commitment to minimize your risk of food borne illness. Be aware that as you age, your immunity to infection naturally is weakened.

 

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