Shingles is a condition caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is also responsible for chickenpox. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1 million people develop shingles each year. While people of any age can develop shingles, it is more common in people over 60 years of age. Here’s what seniors and their caregivers should know about shingles, presented by Columbus Home Care Assistance.
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.
Shingles cannot be transmitted from an infected person to another, but it is 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 administered 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.
The best way to prevent shingles is to get vaccinated. Although there is no guarantee shingles will not develop, shingles is typically less severe in seniors who have received the vaccination.
Interested in learning more about senior health and wellness? Turn to Home Care Assistance. We provide live-in, part-time, and respite care in Columbus, and our caregivers can help your senior loved one maintain a happy and healthy life in the comfort of his or her home. For more information, give us a call at (614) 481-8888 and speak with a friendly Care Manager today.