Everything You Need to Know About Shingles in Senior Citizens

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 people in the US will develop Shingles, and there’s an estimated 1 million cases each year. Seniors citizens, especially those aged 50 and older, are at a greater risk of developing the disease if they had Chickenpox in the past. If you, or your loved one, are at risk of developing this disease, here are some things you need to know about treatment and home health care options if you or your loved one develop this disease.

What is Shingles?

Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. The infection occurs in people who have had chickenpox. The virus remains in the body after the chickenpox is gone and has a high risk of reactivation in senior citizens. Once it flares up, it affects the nerves and causes a highly contagious rash.


Older adults tend to have a weaker immune system due to age. This makes them more vulnerable to developing the infection after having chickenpox. The following are some common symptoms when the virus reactivates in seniors:

• Itching, tingling, and pain where a rash later develops
• A painful rash on one side of the body or face
• Scabbing of the rash within 7-14 days
• Fever
• Chills
• Headache
• Nausea


This disease causes long-term pain from postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) which can last for weeks or months. Pain may be relieved with analgesic pain medication. The condition can be treated with antiviral drugs such as famciclovir, acyclovir, or valacyclovir. They are known to reduce the severity of the illness and its duration. Treatment should be taken as soon as possible after the rash appears.

Getting Home Healthcare for a Senior Citizen

Persistent pain caused by reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus can significantly reduce the quality of life of seniors. The Nurses Guild Home Health Agency can provide trained nurses or home health aides to help your loved one heal and recover from Shingles in the comfort of their home. Just call 954-596-9806 or 561-826-8337 for more information.