Food for a Sick person ( invalid person)
An invalid is a person who is sick. Sickness is a broad term that covers conditions caused by infections, injury or surgery. There are a variety of factors that can influence nutrient requirements. Fever is developed as a defensive mechanism creating an environment unfavourable to most invading bacteria. When -the body temperature is raised above normal, the basic metabolic rate is increased, the breakdown of body proteins accelerates up to two or three times the normal rate, the level of vitamins in the blood falls and there is a great loss of body water. Some sicknesses require special diets.
The patient with fever needs a fluid diet, but it is important that this diet should
provide energy, protein, vitamins and plenty of liquid.
Shock can follow a surgical operation, burns, or accident and may result in a loss of vitamin C and protein. Adequate supplies of this vitamin and protein should be provided in the diet. Haemorrhage (bleeding) results in a loss of fluid with dissolved nutrients, and the loss of blood cells. Provision of additional iron and protein are important.
It is important that children should eat during sickness. If children are given no food, they will soon become weak and unable to resist the sickness. For instance, a child with measles needs plenty of food, to make him strong. Foods rich in protein are particularly important, so as to resist the disease. A child with diarrhoea becomes dehydrated (loose water easily). He needs fluid. He should also be given oral rehydration therapy (a preparation of water, salt and sugar). Food does not cause diarrhoea. Once diarrhoea has stopped, he should be given plenty of food rich in protein.
Some people may suffer from gastric or intestinal disorders, certain allergies (reaction to certain foods) etc. The use of diet to build health during and after illness is called diet therapy.
These special diets are prescribed by the dieticians. Dieteticians are specialists who apply the knowledge of Nutrition to people in health and disease. The prescribed diet will depend on the type of ailment. For instance a hypertensive patient should avoid sodium or too much salt, in his diet, while a diabetic patient should avoid refined carbohydrates.
Suggested Sample Menu for Invalids and Convalescents
- Milk flavoured with chocolate or . ovaltine.
- Lightly boiled egg.
- Thin light soup made with chicken, smoked or frozen fish, beef vegetables etc.
- Agidi drink.
- Millet drink.
- Moi-moi with pap.
- Mashed potatoes or yam.
- Milk pudding including custards.
- Fresh fruits or fruit juice.
- Malted milk beverages.
- Beef/fish tea.
- Corn pap.
- Custard pap.
- Egg flip.
- Egg nog.
- Steamed fish.
- Poached egg on toast.
- Agidi and thin soup.