The Cariboo Press reports that according to Health Canada, seniors are more vulnerable to foodborne illness.
As we age, our immune system tends to deteriorate. The immune system is one of the most important mechanisms for fighting disease and preserving health, so a decrease in the level of disease- fighting cells is a significant factor in the number of infections that may occur.
In addition, undergoing major surgery also affects the body’s ability to fight off infections. To counteract the effects of aging on the immune system, long-term regular exercise is important.
Malnutrition also makes one more susceptible to foodborne illness. It leads to increased incidence of infections, including those that result from foodborne bacteria.
There are many reasons why malnutrition occurs in seniors. There may be a decrease in the pleasure of eating. Medication, digestive disorders, chronic illnesses, physical disabilities or depression may result in a loss of appetite.
Good nutrition is therefore an important factor in maintaining a healthy immune system.
Finally, because we are at greater risk of contracting foodborne illness as we age, the safe preparation, cooking and storage of food is very important.
For example, you can reduce the risk of bacterial illness by always washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood; using separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked products; cooking ground beef to the appropriate temperature (71 degrees C/160 degrees F); avoid eating ground beef that is still pink inside if a thermometer is not available; using a clean utensil to move burgers to a clean plate when ready to serve, and refrigerating foods promptly.