Older adults are more likely to get food poisoning than younger persons. Here’s why.


Seniors often live alone and have smaller appetites, so after preparing a meal they wind up with more leftovers. Even in the refrigerator, food will spoil after a while. Plus, according to the Iowa Poison Control Center, an older adult’s immune system and the bacteria-fighting acid in their stomach has decreased. The combination of eating food that has been in the refrigerator too long and less ability to fight off bacteria can equal food-borne illness.


What are the symptoms of food poisoning? Diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, headache, vomiting, and exhaustion are most common. If you have these, call your clinic. Remember that your regular medications may not work correctly if you have these symptoms.


You can prevent food poisoning by being extra careful to thoroughly wash cutting boards and counters, and by changing your dishcloth and towel daily. Try preparing smaller meals so you have fewer leftovers to put in the refrigerator, or put the leftovers into the freezer right away. Or go ahead and make a big batch of that favorite recipe and invite someone to share the meal with you.