Know About Shingles for Good Senior Health
Good senior health becomes more of a priority as we age. With an increase in the likelihood of developing health-related issues, it’s important to be aware of health problems that are more common in older people. Shingles, for instance, is a viral infection that is more likely to happen to people over the age of 50.
Maintaining senior health is a high priority at senior living communities such as Solterra Senior Living. This is done through professional medical staff, nutritious meals, and providing education about good senior health to community members. Knowing more about shingles is a good way to help detect it sooner and get treatment before symptoms become severe.
Here are a few facts about shingles that can help seniors who are curious about the viral infection.
What Is the Cause of Shingles?
The cause of shingles is a virus known as the varicella-zoster virus. If that sounds familiar, it may be because it’s the same virus that causes chickenpox. Despite having had chickenpox previously, or being vaccinated against it, shingles is still a possibility for many. After overcoming chickenpox, the virus relocates into your body and stays dormant for decades. Then, often for no reason, the virus can be reactivated in the body in the form of the shingles viral infection.
What Are the Symptoms of Shingles?
The most obvious sign of having shingles is a painful rash. This rash can appear anywhere on the body but is more commonly located on either the right or left side of your torso.
Other symptoms may include sensitivity to touch, itching, pain, burning, numbness, or fluid-filled blisters. Other less common symptoms include fever, headache, and fatigue. If you are worried about possibly having shingles, it’s good to know that one of the first symptoms people typically have is pain in their body. Though a rash is a symptom more commonly associated with shingles, not everyone will experience a rash.
Are Shingles Contagious?
Generally, shingles is not a contagious viral infection, but it can be transferred in special cases. One way that shingles can be passed along is if the person infected has a rash that is in the blister phase and uncovered. Fluid from the rash blister can spread to a person who has never had chickenpox before or never received the chickenpox vaccine. If they are introduced to shingles through fluid from an infected person’s rash, they have a chance of developing chickenpox. This is why it’s important to keep rashes covered if you have an active case of shingles.
How Can You Decrease Your Chances of Getting Shingles?
About one in three people who have had chickenpox will eventually get shingles. That risk increases as you age. Though there is currently no cure for shingles, there is a way to help decrease your chances of getting it. Healthy adults over 50 can reach out to their healthcare providers about possibly receiving a shingles vaccine to help lower the risks of getting the virus.