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How To Prevent UTIs: 5 Steps Caregivers Can Take

Nate Birt

Written by Nate Birt on Thu Jan 19 2023.

Urinary tract infections, also known as UTIs, are very common, and there are often practical ways to reduce the risk of developing one. In this article, you’ll learn about the products and steps you can take to keep your loved one UTI-free. Proactive care is one of the best ways to help people you love stay healthy.

Urinary tract infections, also known as UTIs, are very common, and there are often practical ways to reduce the risk of developing one. In this article, you’ll learn about the products and steps you can take to keep your loved one UTI-free. Proactive care is one of the best ways to help people you love stay healthy.

What You’ll Need

1. Adult Diapers, Pull Up Underwear & Accessories

Clean and dry clothing that absorbs moisture and allows airflow can help your loved one limit the presence of harmful bacteria. 

2. Cleansers, Rash Care & Urinary Health

Products such as perineal cleansers can keep sensitive parts of your loved one’s body clean. They reduce the risk of contamination from poop or pee and moisturize the skin to avoid cracking. 

3. Wipes, Washcloths, & Moist Towelettes

Use these products to help your loved one stay clean. The moisture in wipes can remove unwanted particles from the skin, and these can be gently brushed off the body to prevent infection. Wipes provide added support that toilet paper can’t offer and often contain moisturizer to keep the skin healthy.

Hear it from a caregiver: “These are the best disposable washcloths I have used. The quilting is what puts them above other washcloths. Quilted cloths do a better job of cleaning, and the lotion is a plus.”

Prevention Steps

Step 1: Ask your loved one’s doctor for UTI prevention tips

Many caregivers are curious about how to prevent a UTI. Take time during a regular doctor’s visit to ask about preventative measures you can take. If your loved one has experienced a UTI, get to know the risk factors and practical ways you can help

Consider bringing along a notebook to write down the doctor’s tips and any helpful websites they might recommend. Other useful resources you can research include the Mayo Clinic’s UTI page and Cleveland Clinic’s fact-versus-fiction article, “The Truth about UTIs in Older Adults.”

Step 2: Provide your loved one with helpful hygiene products 

As you learn how to prevent UTIs, you’ll discover some good habits and products that can help your loved one. 

It’s important to help your loved one clean up after going to the bathroom while also upholding their dignity and privacy. If your loved one lives with you at home, you can make sure bathrooms are equipped with cleansers, toilet paper, and adult wipes

Encourage your loved ones to wipe themselves from front to back. This helps keep feces and bacteria away from the urinary tract. Consider working with them to establish a habit or pattern for bathroom visits. This might include wiping with toilet paper, cleaning up with a wipe, and then using a cleanser to remove any remaining bacteria. A cleanser can also replenish the skin and help them feel refreshed. 

Step 3: Assess possible wardrobe tweaks to support good health

Trapped moisture can hold in bacteria that might contribute to a UTI. Whether your loved one experiences incontinence or has dementia and needs help with day-to-day activities, review their wardrobe and think through how you might help. 

For instance, shorts or pants that allow air to circulate throughout the lower body are a great option. They can help keep the body dry, including around the genitals and bottom, to prevent the buildup of bacteria.

For those who wear adult diapers or pull ups, it can be helpful to use an incontinence pad for extra absorption. If they cannot get to the bathroom regularly, bowel pads might be another way to ensure waste is kept away from parts of your loved one’s body that could lead to infection later.

Step 4: Encourage your loved one to drink more water

Drinking fluids regularly can help dilute urine and limit the risk of bacteria buildup. It can also help flush out harmful bacteria. 

Look for ways to help, such as by providing a water bottle or delivering a glass of water to the table where they are seated. Consider low- or no-sugar flavorings or juices that are pleasant to drink, yet don’t add unnecessary calories to your loved one’s diet. 

This is also an opportunity to ensure your loved one has access to a nearby bathroom. Consider any toileting supplies you might need to help them go pee or poop free of unnecessary stress.

Step 5: Learn the symptoms 

It’s also important to understand that sometimes UTIs happen despite your best efforts. Be kind to yourself if this occurs. You are doing everything you can to keep your loved one healthy. 

Looking out for potential symptoms can help your loved one get treatment more quickly to prevent the infection from worsening. Contact their doctor or visit your nearest urgent care if your loved one reports UTI symptoms, such as pain while urinating or vomiting. If they cannot communicate, look for signs such as depression, paranoia, or sleeping changes. 

Need more information?

You can learn more about how to prevent UTIs with the below resources. Also, Carewell’s Caregiving Specialists are here to help 24/7 at 855-855-1666. 

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Nate Birt
Nate Birt

Nate Birt is the founder of Silver Maple Strategies, a consulting company that provides premium encouragement and communications solutions to help social purpose leaders make a lasting impact in harmony with their personal values. A University of Missouri journalism graduate, author and public speaker, Nate and his wife, Julie, live with their four children on a small farm in northeastern Missouri.