As many as fifty percent of Americans will have shingles by the time they are eighty years old, but many seniors and their family members know relatively little about the virus. Here are the key facts, presented by a leading provider of senior care in Kingwood.
What Is Shingles
A painful rash that typically develops on one side of the body or the face, the blisters caused by shingles usually scab over within ten days and take about one month to clear up. There are some rare cases when shingles will present itself across the entire body and look more like the chickenpox rash.
The Cause of Shingles
When a person has the chickenpox virus, they are then susceptible for shingles at any point during their lifetime. This is because of the herpes zoster virus that remains dormant in the body after chickenpox has been present. When the body is sick, tired, stressed, or immunosuppressed, this virus can take action.
The earliest symptoms of shingles are severe pain or tingling on the skin, an itchy rash, or blisters. The pain resulting from shingles is called postherpetic neuralgia or PHN. PHN can stick around for months after the rash has cleared up, and it can be debilitating. The older a senior is, the worse their pain can be.
In addition to the unpleasant symptoms associated with shingles there are also complications that can arise. For example, a rash outbreak can occur on the face and actually prevent a person from being able to see or hear properly. If the cornea experiences a shingles outbreak, this can even cause permanent vision damage or blindness. Infection of the sores can occur and scarring can take place if the wounds are not properly taken care of.
Anyone who has had chickenpox in their lifetime is at risk of developing shingles. In order to prevent this, there is a shingles vaccine that can be administered when a senior is well. Also, a chickenpox vaccine is now being used with great success and this can prevent chickenpox as well as shingles.
Learn more about senior health from the experienced staff at Home Care Assistance. We use our proprietary Balanced Care Method to help seniors maintain optimal mental, physical, and emotional health, and it is included in call of our care services, including dementia and Alzheimer’s care in Kingwood, at no additional charge. For more information, please call our office at 832-412-1345 today.