Shingles is a condition caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is also responsible for chickenpox. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 million people develop shingles each year. While people of any age can develop shingles, it’s more common in people over 60 years of age. Here’s what seniors and their caregivers should know about shingles.
The primary symptom of shingles is the development of a painful rash, typically on one side of the body or the face. Like chickenpox, the lesions are blisters that are often very painful. In addition to the rash, other symptoms may include chills, headache, fever, and nausea. People who have shingles can develop complications such as skin infections, neurological problems, and a loss of vision if eye infection occurs.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. Potomac families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Shingles cannot be transmitted from an infected person to another, but it’s possible for people infected with shingles to transmit chickenpox to someone who has never had the disease. The best way to avoid transmitting the virus is to cover the rash, keep hands clean, and avoid scratching the blisters. An average case of shingles lasts from two to six weeks. Most people only get the condition once, but it can occur two or more times in certain people.
Antiviral medications are available for those who develop shingles. If these medications are taken shortly after the rash appears, they can be effective in reducing the severity of the virus. Doctors may also prescribe analgesic medicines for pain and calamine lotion for itching.
Professional caregivers can provide medication reminders. When considering home care, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.
The best way to prevent shingles is to get vaccinated. Although there’s no guarantee shingles won’t develop, shingles is typically less severe in seniors who have received the vaccination.
If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of senior home care. Potomac Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities we provide to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services. Call us today to learn more.