Caring for Someone with Shingles

When you are caring for someone with shingles, you are dealing with a condition that is not limited to painful rash. It is a viral infection that could manifest those annoying rashes all over your body; specifically these rashes tend to appear like a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or right side of the upper body. Shingles is a result of the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (better known as the chickenpox virus). This virus remains inactive in the nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain, tears after that a patient suffers from chickenpox this virus could reactivate and form as shingles. 

If you have not experience it yourself and are caring for someone with shingles, the first thing you must know is that is not a contagious disease, however people who are susceptible to chickenpox (meaning that they never had the disease) could get the varicella-zoster virus.  The symptoms of shingles normally only affect a small section of one side of the body. Those symptoms are pain, burning, in an area of the skin. After a couple of days, a red rash will then follow that pain. With the rash you will see fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over, the crust and blisters with provoke a sense of itchiness. The very first symptom is pain, and in some cases it could be intense that could confuse people onto thinking that it is a symptom of problems affecting the heart, lungs or kidneys.

Shingles can affect anyone who has had chickenpox; there are a couple of factors that can increase the risk of developing shingles. First of all age; this is a disease that is most common in people that are above the age of 50. The risk increases with age. Certain diseases that weaken the body’s defenses also can heighten the risk of getting shingles. Finally, certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, and medications designed to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs also increase the risk.

When caring for someone with shingles it is important that you help follow doctor’s orders when it comes to taking medication at the allotted time. But, to go even further, you might also be able to help alleviate their itchiness and pain that the patient will feel on the blisters and the affected skin. If you apply some cool and wet compresses, made with non-adhering dressings, they will relief the pain and itchiness. Also by using dressing on the affected area, the skin will have a better environment to heal and you will also prevent the virus from passing on. In many cases of severe and constant pain, doctors and physicians have recommended the use of Electrotherapy to relief the pain caused by shingles, specifically with the use of a TENS unit such as the TENS 3000. This is an excellent non-invasive way to help stop the pain with out the need of risky painkillers.

Finally, to go even further in taking care of the skin of a shingles patient, you can also apply some topical OTC skin lotion on the affected skin. We recommend the Soothe and Cool Herbal Body Lotion, as it relieves the burning and itching sensation, it will also ease the pain felt.  Caring for someone with shingles demands for the caregiver to have excellent hygiene and to avoid exposure of the affected area to possible contaminants to avoid infection. With time and care, the itchiness and pain will be gone.