Tips for carers: Coping with UTIs
If you care for somebody with a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), you probably don’t need any specialist training, equipment or education. What you do need is a way to decide if they need to seek medical support and treatment – ideally from the comfort of your home or setting. TestCard can help you to see immediate results.
What is a UTI?
A UTI is an infection that takes place in the bladder, kidneys or urethra (the tube that carries urine). UTIs most commonly affect older people. They’re easily treated, and there are steps people can take to prevent them from occurring. In this blog, we’ve developed a guide for carers to help them understand the causes of UTIs, as well as how to prevent and treat them.
Before we get started, it’s important to state that a urinary tract infection can cause confusion in sufferers. In older people, this could start to look like the symptoms of dementia. If you’re a carer, our request to you is to be patient and don’t look to solve the puzzle of these symptoms. If you’re concerned about yourself or somebody that you care for, you should seek medical advice.
What do the symptoms of a UTI look like?
There are some really good sources for information about the symptoms of a UTI, including the NHS. Alternatively, speaking to a health professional for guidance is very beneficial.
Our medical team has shared a list of common symptoms that will help you to understand if a test should be taken.
The common symptoms to look for in somebody that you care for include:
- The urgent need to pee, and more frequently than they may usually
- They may experience pain or a burning sensation when they pee
- Their pee may be smelly, cloudy or have blood in it
- They may complain of pain in their lower abdomen, feeling unwell or generally tired
- The person you care for may become confused or agitated
Tips to help you prevent a UTI
If you care for somebody that is prone to UTIs, you may not always be able to prevent them. There are some practical things that you can do to help UTIs occurring. Here are some top tips and things to look out for that you can share:
- Encourage the person you care for to wipe from front to back when they go to the toilet. This will discourage the spread of bacteria.
- Change the soap used to unperfumed and make sure the person affected washes every day.
- Tell the person you care for to empty their bladder when they pee. Remind them to go to the toilet regularly so they don’t hold their pee in!
- Introduce cotton underwear rather than polyester or nylon.
- Make sure the person you care for drinks plenty of water and takes in fluids.
- Ditch the talcum powder and other perfumed items.
- Wear loose clothing including underwear, tights and trousers.
Treating Urinary Tract Infections
Treating a UTI is generally straightforward. If you use our TestCard testing kit, you can share the TestCard results with a medical professional who can diagnose what's needed, which could include prescribing antibiotics.