Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is more common in the older population and may cause significant complications with severe morbidity and mortality. It is an important cause of peptic ulcers, chronic gastritis and stomach cancer. Among the risk factors for acquisition of H. pylori infection, poor socioeconomic status, poor sanitization and hygiene practices, and contaminated food and water, are the most significant ones. A significant association was found in a recent study for H. pylori infection with the lower frequency of handwashing before going to the bathroom and the consumption of well water. Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) infection is more of a public health issue, as the foodborne transmission is widely believed by many, which can be prevented by improving hygiene practice and food safety.
Antibiotics are effective treatment for H. pylori infection. Choices including clarithromycin, metronidazole (for 7 to 14 days), or amoxicillin (for 7 to 14 days).
Most of the treatment regimens include a medication called a proton pump inhibitor. This medication decreases the stomach's production of acid, which allows the tissues damaged by the infection to heal. Examples of proton pump inhibitors include lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Protonix), rabeprazole (AcipHex), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), and esomeprazole (Nexium).
For those who are infected with H. pylori but without symptoms, most clinicians do not recommend treatment. Currently, half of the world population is carrying strains that can survive and multiply in human gastric mucosa. There is a complex associations between human microbiome and health. Whether H. pylori may be considered as a beneficial gastric pathogen, if asymptomatic, is a controversial topic and more medical research are ongoing.
Literature indicate the presence and survival of H. pylori in food samples, such as milk, vegetables and meat, and suggest these foods may play an important role in the environmental transmission of this pathogen. In addition, other studies report the presence of H. pylori in the gastric tissue of some animals (e.g. sheep and cow) and therefore, it is likely they participate in the food chain transmission as reservoirs besides human. attention to food contamination sources (unhygienic water) and controlling them may prevent transmission of pathogens associated with health.
The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and its complications increase with age. To reduce risks for H. pylori infection, you can take these preventive actions in daily living –
Food safety – eat clean and well cooked food. Poorly cooked food increases risks of food poisoning and GI infection.
Water sanitation – drink safe water and use safe water for food preparations. Water is important for the community, protect clean water source and regulate sewage control. Water quality is to be closely monitored locally.
Promote sanitary standard – unsanitary conditions may transmit H. pylori bacteria. Separate raw meat preparations with other foods, require workers use gloves for food handling and meeting proper hand washing guidelines in food industry. [Proper hand washing: Starts with warm water, at least 120 degrees, and a decent sized helping of liquid soap. Place the soap in your hands and wet them briefly. Wash them for a total of 15-30 seconds, scrubbing around your fingers, along the front and back of your palms, and around your fingernails, and under jewelry. Then, rinse them in the warm water and dry them with a clean, sanitized towel or clean paper towel.]
At personal level, promote personal hygiene practice and a proper hand washing after each restroom use or before handling food is the best protection.
Avoid contamination from unsanitary environment and/or personal contact. Note that the bacteria may be transmitted is through the fecal-oral route or the oral-oral route. Saliva, vomit, and feces are sources of contamination.
Awareness of self-neglect
Elder self-neglect occurs when an elderly person is no longer able to meet his or her basic daily needs. According to the Elder Justice Act, which was enacted in 2010, elder self-neglect is defined as the "inability, due to physical or mental impairment or diminished capacity, to perform essential self-care."
Hoarding: nothing is thrown away, stacks of papers, magazines.
Loneliness, social isolation, and/or depression.
Untreated medical conditions.
H. pylori risk increases in elders with self-neglect, as physical illness and psycho-social factors are closely related. Share health resources and services to support your loved ones and promote healthy aging. Everyone’s awareness and supportive action counts; we can help.
Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) is a gram-negative bacterium in human gastrointestinal system. H. pylori infection is prevalent in aging population. The majority of infected individuals remain asymptomatic throughout the life but 10%-20% develops peptic ulcer disease and 1% gastric malignancies. It is treatable with antibiotics. Food safety, water sanitation, and personal hygiene are important for prevention.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional for personal conditions.
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