Much time each year is spent on educating seniors on the importance of receiving flu vaccinations. However, very little time is spent on educating seniors about shingles.
According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 out of 3 people will develop shingles in their lives, with approximately 1 million new cases presented annually. Half of all shingles cases occur in men and women aged 60 or older.
Because the likelihood of developing shingles increases with age, it is important to understand what to expect if you, your loved one, or a patient develops shingles.
What Is Shingles?
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the virus varicella zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Once a person has chickenpox, the virus will live dormant in his or her immune system. Eventually (for reasons that are not fully known), the virus may reactivate itself, causing this skin rash to develop.
Before the rash develops, you may experience itching, tingling, or pain in the affected area. Once the rash develops, small blisters usually occur in an isolated location on one side of the body or face. According to the CDC, in some cases, shingles may be more widespread and look similar to chickenpox.
On top of the itching and rash, symptoms of shingles can include:
Damage to your vision
Treatments for shingles may include antiviral and pain medications, but if you, a loved one, or a patient experiences any symptoms of shingles, be sure to contact a healthcare provider immediately. Treatment is most effective soon after the rash develops.
Is Shingles Contagious?
Shingles cannot be contracted from another person, as with chickenpox. It is important to note, however, a person with shingles can transmit chickenpox, as it is the same virus that causes it. The CDC recommends covering the rash, avoiding touching and scratching the rash, and avoiding contact with pregnant women, infants, and people with weakened immune systems until the scabs crust over.
If you think you have shingles (or any other communicable disease) and/or your doctor has diagnosed you, it is important to contact your in-home care provider so they can ensure your caregiver takes the proper precautions to avoid infection.
Prevention of Shingles
The best way to prevent shingles is to get the vaccine. The CDC says that people aged 60 and over should get one dose of the vaccine. It is usually available at pharmacies and doctor’s offices. As with any vaccination, speak to your doctor first.
If you have never had chickenpox, it is highly recommended you speak with a healthcare provider to receive more information or to receive a chickenpox vaccine. If you have had chickenpox, a shingles vaccination is available (and suggested) to prevent an outbreak.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Shingles Home Care Services in Florida
At Care Options for Kids, we understand the value of good health and the importance of scheduling regular medical checkups. We refer knowledgeable and loving caregivers to provide a wide range of services, from transportation to and from appointments, to personal grooming and nursing care inside the home. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or Request a Free In-Home Consultation. Together we can determine the right plan of action for your family and help your loved one begin his or her new chapter in life with confidence.