Shingles is an illness brought about by the varicella-zoster virus, which is a reactivation of the chicken pox virus. It is more likely to occur in people with a weakened immune system, which includes seniors.
Shingles presents as an angry, painful rash with a “stripe of blisters,” and affects over 1 million Americans each year in the U.S., according to the CDC. Shingles can be managed better if detected early on and treated swiftly to avoid complications like postherpetic neuralgia, meaning the pain persists after treatment.
Some signs and symptoms of shingles in seniors include:
- Painful blisters and sores on the trunk of the body
- Redness or rash-like appearance that may tingle or be itchy
- Upset stomach
The best method of prevention for shingles is by means of vaccination.
The shingles vaccine seniors need to know is Shingrix, which can greatly decrease your chances of getting shingles. It’s suggested for adults over 50 — even if you’ve had chickenpox already, as well as adults over 19 who may have compromised immune systems.
Aside from immunization, there are other steps older adults can do to potentially lower the chances of getting shingles. Keeping yourself in proper shape through regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and proper rest can bolster your immune system.
Family members of loved ones that may not be able to schedule vaccinations should be educated on senior specific vaccinations, and talk with their loved ones primary care provider to create a vaccine schedule. Shingle prevention is an essential part of creating quality of life for our elderly loved ones.
Do you need help?
Are you or a loved one looking for help at home with shingles in seniors and other disease prevention? My Choice Home Care is a senior home care service that serves clients in Macon, Jackson, and Haywood Counties in North Carolina. Counties served in Georgia are Rabun, Towns, and Habersham. Counties served in Upstate South Carolina are Oconee, Pickens, and Anderson. Call (828) 200-9000 to speak to someone today if you or a loved one would like to enjoy the benefits of living independently in your own home.