Shingles or herpes zoster impacts over a million Americans every year. The virus causes a rash that is often itchy and painful. It also sometimes causes more permanent nerve damage that impacts quality of life and the ability to live independently.
How Shingles Impacts Health
Shingles is often indicated as a contributor to other health problems including:
- Vision Troubles
- Post herpetic neuralgia (PHN)
- Weakness in the muscles surrounding a nerve that was impacted
What Causes Shingles
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Any adult who has ever had the chickenpox and even some who received the vaccine has some risk of getting shingles. The virus essentially lies dormant in the body, but when it is activated by stress or a weakened immune system, shingles is the result.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all individuals over the age of 60 get one dose of the shingles vaccination. While this vaccination will not prevent the development of shingles, it often alleviates symptoms and makes recovery faster. Vaccinating is even necessary for those who have had shingles as having the virus activate once is not a guarantee that a person is safe from a second occurance.
How a Doctor Helps
It is advisable for anyone experiencing symptoms of shingles to visit a healthcare provider as soon as possible. While there is no cure for this virus, anti-viral medication can make managing symptoms easier, reduce the risk of permanent nerve damage and even reduce a person’s risk of experiencing a stroke or other secondary health concerns. Typical symptoms include a rash, small, fluid filled blisters, headaches, stomach discomfort and headaches. Seniors might also say that having someone touch their skin is uncomfortable. Some might even experience memory loss or confusion.
The Benefit of In Home Care
Whether the person suffering from shingles is a senior or younger adult, professional homecare services through an agency like Salus Homecare Salt Lake City are beneficial. Professional caregivers can assist with cooling baths and applying wet compresses or itch-relieving gels. They might also help to keep ambulation safe when moving joints is uncomfortable. By preparing healthy meals and encouraging both appropriate activity and beneficial rest, caregivers also facilitate healing and provide meaningful support. Finally, professional caregivers offer reliable transportation so seniors can get to follow up appointments with their doctors, pick up medications from the pharmacy and visit the grocery store to purchase healthy foods that boost immunity. They might also support a senior with safe activity as prescribed by a physical therapy if weakness is noted.
Is Shingles Contagious
While shingles is not considered an extremely contagious disease, anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk. For that reason, it is a good idea to keep the rash covered when others are around. Family, friends and professional caregivers are also advised to wear protective gloves, wash their hands frequently and take care when handling any bed linens that were exposed to open blisters. If a parent or grandparent has shingles, young children might need to avoid contact if they have not received the chickenpox vaccination. Talk to your doctor to understand any necessary precautions and keep family, friends and visitors safe.
Shingles is a virus to take seriously. If you or a loved one experiences symptoms related to this condition, seek medical attention quickly. Follow your doctor’s instructions, and get the support needed so you can rest and recover. Salus Homecare Salt Lake City is always here to help. If you have questions or need assistance, just let us know. Call us anytime to schedule your complimentary, no obligation evaluation.