What is shingles?
Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. It causes a rash that can occur anywhere on the body and usually appears as a patch of blisters. When a person has had chickenpox, the virus lays dormant in the body and can reactivate years later as shingles.
Can it be prevented?
The CDC recommends adults who are 50 years of age or older should get the shingles vaccine to help prevent it. While it doesn’t guarantee your senior won’t get shingles, it should help to lessen severe symptoms associated with the virus and lessen their risk of severe complications as well.
Why should my senior getting elderly care at home consider getting the vaccine?
There are many reasons you want your senior parent or loved one to avoid getting the shingles infection. Below are a few reasons why you might want to talk to their doctor about whether the vaccine is right for them and what, if any complications there might be.
1. Shingles Hurt
When a senior gets shingles, it can be very painful! It can also cause feelings of burning, tingling, numbness, or sensitivity to those with the ailment. It can cause a fever and a headache as well.
For some people, it can also cause a lasting pain called postherpetic neuralgia. This pain continues long after the blisters have healed when nerve fibers send messages to the brain that cause ongoing pain.
2. Shingles can cause blindness
A shingles infection that occurs on or around the eye can lead to painful eye infections that can cause permanent vision loss.
3. It may be covered under your insurance
Most insurance plans cover the cost of the shingles vaccine, so check with your senior’s insurance provider for more information.
4. It’s contagious
Until the blisters have healed over, a person with shingles is contagious to people who have not had the chickenpox virus or vaccine, and people with shingles are advised to stay away from contact with pregnant women, children, and those with weakened immune systems.
If you or your senior parent or loved one, getting elderly care at home, have been considering getting the shingles vaccine, make an appointment with their health care professional as soon as possible to ask about it.
If you can help prevent immediate and lasting pain, prevent vision loss, and avoid spreading the infection, it’s a good option to consider for your senior.
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