Shingles is a painful condition that causes a blistering rash. It is caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one million people get shingles every year. About half of those are in people who are aged 60 or older. Dealing with a case of shingles is certainly no fun, but there are ways family caregivers and elderly care providers can help older adults through the condition. Below are some tips for easing shingles symptoms.
A cool bath with colloidal oatmeal added to the water can relieve itching. Cleansing the blisters also helps keep the infection from spreading. A 15 to 20-minute soak will suffice. An elderly care provider can prepare the oatmeal bath and assist the senior to safely enter and exit the bathtub.
The Right Clothes
Wearing clothes that are loose fitting and made of natural fibers are helpful. An elderly care provider can pick out clothing for the senior that is soft and made from materials like linen or cotton. If the older adult needs help dressing, an elderly care provider can do that, too.
Attend to Overall Health
While the older adult’s body is busy fighting off the virus that causes shingles, it’s especially important for them to stick to good health habits. Eating a nutritious diet and getting a good night’s sleep will keep them stronger. It’s also important to remain physically active, though it may be necessary to change their exercise routine until the rash goes away. Sticking to gentle exercises, like stretching or walking, may be best.
Participating in a favorite activity can help take a person’s mind off of the itching and pain of shingles. An elderly care provider can engage the senior in activities, like board or card games, crossword puzzles, or a craft.
Using a wet, cool compress on the rash can soothe itching. A washcloth soaked in cool water and wrung out works well. However, never use an ice pack on a shingles rash as it can make the skin more sensitive and worsen the pain.
Although calamine lotion won’t make the rash go away any faster, it can make it less irritating. But, the experts at WebMD say not to use antibiotic ointments on the rash because they can actually make the healing process take longer.
Not all of these tips may work for your aging family member. Keep trying different things until you find something that makes them feel better. Shingles can last anywhere from two to six weeks, so it may be necessary to keep up comfort measures for a while. Having an elderly care provider assist during recovery can take some of the pressure off of family caregivers and provide comfort and distraction to the senior.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring elder care in Vestavia, AL please contact the caring staff at Senior Legacy Care today. Call us at (205) 380-7418.
Susan Smith, Owner
Susan Smith is the owner of Senior Legacy, an independent non-medical senior in home care business.... Read More...