How Does Shingles Affect Your Loved One, and How You Can Help as a Caregiver in Flowery Branch, GA?
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, will affect one out of every five seniors who have had the chicken pox at some point in their life. Shingles is a painful disease that affects the nerves and causes blisters to appear on the skin. As a caregiver to a loved one who is suffering from the reactivation of chicken pox, you can make a difference as to how the shingles disease will affect him or her.
Once a person has the chicken pox, the varicella virus remains dormant in a nerve root on either side of the spinal cord. The onset of shingles can be triggered by aging, stress, or an impaired immune system.
Once the virus is activated, it will travel along a nerve path to the surface of the skin. Symptoms include tingling, itching, and pain followed by groups of blisters along a band of skin, usually on the shoulder or chest but can sometimes present on the face.
So how can you as a home care provider help your loved one?
Learn about shingles, especially if your loved one has had the chicken pox. Know what the symptoms are so that you can get your loved one treated immediately. If left untreated in the elderly, the disease can cause severe complications particularly in those with a compromised immune system.
- Chronic debilitating nerve pain
- Motor paralysis
- Secondary bacterial infection
Is the disease contagious to someone providing home care?
A person with shingles can infect someone else with chicken pox (varicella virus) if they have direct contact with fluid from the blisters. To avoid infecting others, a person with shingles should stay away from:
- Pregnant women
- Immune compromised individuals
- People who have not yet had the chicken pox
If you are familiar with the disease and know what to look for, you can get your loved one treatment right away. If treated early, the disease should last only a few weeks.
Is there a way to prevent my loved one from getting shingles?
There is a shingles vaccine that your local pharmacies such as Walgreens or CVS can provide. The vaccine will give your immune system a boost and decrease the risk for developing shingles.
Shingles is more painful and complicated in some seniors than others. As a caregiver, learning about the disease will enable you to protect your loved one from the effects of shingles. Encourage your loved one to get vaccinated.
The caregivers at Home Care Matters are available to talk with you and your family about all of your elder care needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable caregivers in Flowery Branch, GA and the surrounding areas. Call (678) 828-2195 for more information.