Shingles is a painful viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles are most common in older adults and those with weakened immune systems. Assisting a senior in dealing with shingles involves providing practical and emotional support to help them manage the symptoms of the infection. If you can’t aid your older parents in coping with shingles, here are a few ways elder care can help you do so.
Encouraging Them to Rest
Shingles can be exhausting, and the senior may need to rest more than usual. Encouraging seniors to take it easy and avoid overexertion can help them recover faster.
Keeping the Affected Area Clean
The senior should keep the affected area clean and dry to prevent the spread of the virus. They should also avoid scratching or picking at the blisters, as this can lead to infection. Elder care providers help older people to wash the inflicted region and apply antiviral drugs.
Apply Cool Compresses
Applying cool compresses on the affected area can also help relieve pain and itching. It’s essential to make sure the compresses are clean and sterile to prevent infection.
Assisting in Medical Management
Helping seniors manage their medication is another important aspect of supporting them through shingles. The senior may be prescribed antiviral medication, pain relievers, and topical creams to contain their symptoms. Elder care can help seniors keep track of their medication schedule and make sure they are taking their medications as prescribed, which can help them manage their symptoms and recover faster.
Offering Emotional Support
Dealing with shingles can be stressful and uncomfortable, and the senior may need someone to talk to about their feelings and concerns. Seniors with shingles may feel depressed or anxious due to their condition, and elder care providers can help alleviate these feelings by providing companionship. Besides, offering emotional support and letting the senior know that you are there to help in any way you can make a big difference.
Urge Them to See a Healthcare Provider
Encourage the senior to seek medical attention if they are experiencing severe pain, the rash is spreading rapidly, or if they develop symptoms such as fever or headache. A healthcare provider can offer additional treatment options and help manage the senior’s symptoms.
Seniors with shingles may experience loss of appetite or have difficulty eating due to pain. Elder care providers can help seniors prepare meals and ensure they receive proper nutrition. Proper nutrition is vital for seniors with shingles because it can help boost their immune system and speed up the healing process.
Ensure They Are Vaccinated
Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent shingles or reduce the severity of symptoms. The vaccine can help seniors reduce their risk of developing shingles by up to 90%. It can also reduce the risk of complications and boost the immune system.