Shingles is a condition that is caused by the same virus that gives people chicken pox. It happens when the virus reactivates in the body. For most people, shingles is mostly just a nuisance, causing an itchy and painful rash. However, some people have serious complications, such as pain that continues after shingles ends or vision loss. The best way to deal with shingles and avoid complications is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
What is Shingles?
Shingles is a kind of viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. After a person has chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in the nerve tissue around the brain and spinal cord. Shingles occurs when the virus reactivates. Shingles symptoms usually occur on only one side of the body and in a small area.
Symptoms of shingles include:
- Pain, burning, or numbness.
- A rash that starts shortly after the pain.
- Feeling sensitive to touch.
- Blisters that are filled with fluid, which open and then form scabs.
- Light sensitivity.
The pain of shingles can be severe sometimes. Because the pain can occur in different parts of the body, it is sometimes mistaken for a symptom of some other condition. It’s also possible to have pain from shingles without ever getting a rash. When a rash does happen, it usually appears as a line of blisters wrapping around the side of the torso. It can also happen on one side of the face or neck or around one eye.
Preventing a Shingles Infection
Shingles can be prevented through vaccination. There are a few different kinds of vaccines for shingles. The senior’s doctor can tell them which one is best. Depending on the kind of vaccine they receive, they may need two shots given between two and six months apart. Some side effects are possible with the shingles vaccine, but they are usually mild.
Some side effects of the vaccine are:
Getting the vaccine isn’t a 100 percent guarantee that your aging relative won’t get shingles. However, if they do get it, chances are it will be a milder case and the risk of complications is less.
Home care services can help your aging relative to get the shingles vaccine. A home care services provider can drive them to the doctor’s office to get the vaccine. A home care services provider can stay with them after getting the vaccine to watch for any side effects as well. If the older adult does get shingles, home care services can take care of them while they recover, helping them to ease symptoms and taking their mind off the itching.