According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles during their lifetime. However, adults over the age of 60 are more at risk. As we age, our immune system begins to decline and the chances of developing shingles can significantly increase. Here is how to protect yourself from shingles and what to do if you if you get this painful disease.
What are Shingles?
Shingles are rashes which develop by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus. If you have had the chickenpox, you are at risk of developing shingles.
What Are The Symptoms of Shingles?
Similar to the chickenpox, the shingles will present itself as a painful rash. This rash typically appears on one side of your face or body in a stripe pattern.
The earliest symptoms of shingles include a burning, shooting pain or tingly itchiness on one side of the body. Within one to 14 days after the onset of pain or itchiness, the rash or blisters will begin to appear. The pain caused by the shingles virus can last for months or even years after the rash has cleared.
How Can I Protect Myself Against Shingles?
It may seem like there is little you can do to protect yourself from shingles with the virus already being in your body, but that is not the case. The CDC recommends that adults over the age of 60 who have previously had chickenpox get a shingles vaccine.
The shingles vaccine works to boost your immune system and reduce the likelihood of developing shingles. If you do come down with shingles, the vaccine can shorten the duration of the disease and make symptoms less severe.
What should I Do if I Develop Shingles?
If you think you have shingles you should see your doctor within 72 hours of developing a rash. Keep your rash clean and covered to prevent scratching and picking at the area.
The Arbors Assisted Living encourages our senior residents to stay healthy and happy! For more information on how we can help your elderly loved one, contact us today to schedule a tour!