One-third of Americans will get shingles during their lifetime.
That’s about one million people every year. Shingles can happen in anyone who has had chickenpox during their lifetime because it is, essentially, a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, varicella-zoster. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus remains in the body, lying dormant near the brain and spinal cord in the tissues of nerves. The chances of getting shingles increases as a person ages, putting senior citizens at greater risk than younger adults. Recognizing the symptoms of shingles can help to prevent potential complications associated with shingles, such as vision loss and neurological problems.
Usually, only a small portion of a senior’s body is affected by the symptoms of shingles. The symptoms typically occur on just one side of the body. Symptoms of shingles include:
- Feeling pain, burning, or numbness.
- Being sensitive to touch.
- A red rash that starts a few days after the pain begins.
- Blisters that are filled with fluid. The blisters break open and then form a crust.
- In addition to symptoms related to the skin, some people also have:
- Light sensitivity.
Most of the time, the first symptom of shingles is pain that can be intense. Often it is mistaken for a symptom of another health condition depending on its location. People can also have shingles pain but never get a rash.
Anyone who is 60 or older should see a doctor if they experience shingles symptoms since they are at the greatest risk of developing complications. Also, if the rash develops near the eyes, it must be treated to prevent permanent damage to the eyes.
Shingles aren’t contagious to other people who have had the chickenpox during their lifetime, but it can cause chickenpox in someone who has never had it. Fortunately, there is a vaccination for both chickenpox and for shingles. If your aging relative has never had chickenpox, they should be vaccinated. If they have had chickenpox, they should receive the shingles vaccination. The shingles vaccination isn’t a guarantee that the older adult will never get shingles, but it lessens their chances and may make the condition milder if they do get it.
If your older adult family member gets shingles, home care can help them manage the symptoms and keep them more comfortable. A home care provider can assist them with keeping the area of the rash clean and dry so that it does not become infected. They can also apply Calamine lotion and help the senior to choose soft, loose-fitting clothing to wear. Home care providers can also help family caregivers to watch for signs of complications, so the older adult can get medical attention as soon as possible.
If you or a family member are in need of a Senior Care in Coconut Creek, FL, call the caring professionals at Star Multi Care today at (954) 870-4770.
Providing service in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Weston, Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City, Lighthouse Point, and Wilton Manors.