Every year, around one million people in the United States get a case of the shingles. Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. After a person has chicken pox, the virus stays inside their body. Shingles occurs when the virus re-activates. Many people who get shingles develop a rash that is painful and itches. An older adult with shingles may be tempted to scratch at the rash, which can cause infection. The pain of shingles can also be very difficult to cope with.
Here are 5 ways you can help your aging relative to deal with shingles symptoms.
#1: Apply a Cold Compress
A cold compress can cool the itchiness of a rash and reduce inflammation. You can use an ice pack wrapped in a towel, a bag of frozen peas, or just run a clean washcloth under cold water. Use the cold pack for 20 minutes at a time. WebMD recommends that you stop using cold compresses once the blisters have stopped oozing and not to use compresses in conjunction with creams or patches.
#2: Try an Oatmeal Bath
Colloidal oatmeal added to a bath water may be useful in easing inflammation. It also moisturizes dry skin. Colloidal oatmeal is made from oats that have been ground into a powder. Most kinds of colloidal oatmeal don’t have oat protein in them, which makes them safe for people with oat allergies. Be sure to check the label, though, if allergies are a concern.
#3: Rub on Calamine Lotion
Calamine lotion can soothe blisters and reduce itching. You can purchase a bottle at most pharmacies or in the health and beauty sections of stores. Although calamine may be helpful, it’s best not to use antibiotic creams and ointments because they can cause the blisters to heal more slowly.
#4: Eat Right and Exercise
A healthy, balanced diet and some exercise can help to give the body the strength it needs to fight off the virus that causes shingles. Make sure the older adult eats meals that include lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins. Encourage the senior to take walks, do yoga, or try some gentle stresses. It’s also important for them to get enough rest.
#5: Create a Distraction
Sometimes it helps to just keep the senior’s mind off the pain and itching. Try getting them interested in a project, game, or movie.
Elder care providers can assist seniors with easing their shingles symptoms, too. Elder care providers can prepare cold compresses and rub on calamine lotion. An elder care provider can also put colloidal oatmeal into a cool bath and help the senior to get safely into the tub. Elder care can also prepare healthy meals and snacks and keep the older adult busy, so they don’t think about their symptoms.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Rochester NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.
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