We don’t often think about Shingles as a possible problem, but it is something that some seniors will encounter.
As is the case with any illness, it can be challenging and stressful to care for a loved-one who is dealing with Shingles. An understanding of the basics of Shingles and how it impacts the body can help caregivers to know what their loved-ones need as they work to feel better.
What is Shingles?
Shingles is related to the Chickenpox that so many of us had as children. The varicella-zoster virus that causes the Chickenpox can remain within the body and can become active again in adulthood causing Shingles. Shingles impacts nerves throughout the body and causes a rash on the skin. Common symptoms of Shingles are as follows:
- Achy Body
- Burning Sensation
- Nerve Pain
The pain that comes with Shingles can be severe and hard to deal with, and older adults often experience more extreme cases of Shingles.
A case of Shingles can stick around for a few weeks (often between three and five). It is important that seniors and their caregivers keep a close eye on how things are going to make sure they can detect any changes that might indicate the development of complications and can seek the help of a medical professional should trouble arise.
When a case of Shingles is active, there are some measures to take to protect others and to ease the discomfort a little bit until it is over.
In terms of preventing the spread of Shingles to others, it is important to keep the rash covered and avoid touching or scratching it. Hands should also be washed often and contact with vulnerable individuals should be prevented until the rash has crusted.
Talking to a doctor can illuminate strategies that might be able to ease the pain and help manage symptoms of Shingles in a safe way for the individual, but things such as soothing baths, lotions, loose clothing, and cold compresses are easy to implement and can often help to provide a little relief.
Shingles can be a painful and difficult thing to deal with, but with some support and care seniors can manage their symptoms and get through.