Those of us who have had chickenpox remember the pain, itching, seeping blisters and multitude of scabs. We survived, but wait… has everyone heard about shingles?
Shingles is caused by the same virus-producing chickenpox… varicella-zoster. After chickenpox, this virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain. When shingles occurs, it travels over the nerve system, generally on one side of the torso. Chickenpox does not guarantee contracting shingles but Seniors who have compromised immune systems are highly susceptible. Cancer treatments, certain medications and simply being over the age of 50 are primary triggers.
The natural slowing of immune systems with age increases chances of complications. One with shingles is contagious until shingles blisters scab over and cease weeping. Symptoms of shingles are similar to chickenpox but more intense. Symptoms may include:
- Pain, burning, numbness or tingling
- Sensitivity to touch
- A widespread and painful red rash
- Fluid-filled blisters
- Severe itching
Healthline states the risks of shingles. A rash near the eyes, if unattended, has caused vision loss in
10-20% of shingles cases. Chances of stroke are present during the first six months after shingles, longer if vision loss has occurred. Dementia may result due to an inflammation of the arteries supplying blood to the brain during the illness.
Shingles, which may last as long as 2-6 weeks, may be treated with medication. Five doses a day could be prescribed and not advised if your Senior is forgetful. Pain medication is desirable but often has complications. One source recommends meditation, but constant itching renders focusing a challenge.
Vaccinations for shingles are the best prevention. Seniors over the age of 50 are now able to be vaccinated with Shingrix, which includes two doses several months apart. At this time, a booster is not suggested IF two doses of Shingrix have been administered.
Bridge to Better Living realizes the importance of healthy aging. As winter months approach, many loved ones will be confronted with slowing immune systems. Bridge to Better Living offers a stress-free, no-worry approach to finding the most appropriate Social, Physical, Medical and Financial Senior Living Option. Contact Bridge to Better Living today. We care about YOU.