Once you or someone you care for has reached the ago of 50, you need to be more aware of an infection called shingles which causes a painful rash. If you’ve ever had chicken pox, you’re a prime candidate for shingles because it’s caused by the same virus that gave you chicken pox. The varicella-zoster virus remains dormant in your body and can reactivate many years later as shingles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50% of seniors who live to the age of 85 will get shingles at some point in their lives. In fact, if you are over 65, you’re seven time more likely to get shingles and over a million people get it each year.
Symptoms include pain and a burning or tingling sensation somewhere on your torso or on your face around an eye. A few days after the pain starts, a red rash appears and then changes into fluid filled blisters. The rash itches and eventually the blisters break open and crust over. Shingles is contagious until the blisters scab over. The pain can be very intense and sometimes it lasts a very long time after the blisters clear up. It can be months or even years until all the pain is gone!
Fortunately, a vaccine for shingles became available a few years ago. It doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get shingles but it will reduce the risk of getting it by 50%. It also will shorten how severe the infection will be and how long the infection will last. The vaccine can also reduce the risk of any painful complications by 66%. Despite the severity and duration of this infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control, fewer than 7% of seniors in the U.S. get the vaccine. This is where you as a caregiver come into the picture. Make it your business to get this vaccine and encourage the senior or loved one you care for to get it also. The odds are pretty high that either or both of you will get this incredibly painful infection so you need to beat the odds! Share your experience with shingles below and visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com