The main weapon to fight a shingles outbreak is an antiviral medication. Three types — acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir — are approved for older adults and younger people, too. While acyclovir (Zovirax) may be the most effective, it requires five doses a day, which can be a challenge for an older person.
Is shingles life threatening in elderly?
For adults who are otherwise fairly healthy, shingles is not life threatening, though it can be quite uncomfortable. However, when left untreated, shingles may cause complications. For certain people — such as those over the age of 65 or whose immune systems are compromised — these complications could lead to death.
What triggers shingles in elderly?
The cause of shingles in the elderly is a virus called varicella-zoster. Chickenpox and shingles are both caused by this virus. After you have chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years after recovering from chickenpox, it can reactivate and cause shingles.
How can I help the elderly with shingles?
Oral anti-viral medications such as acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) and valacyclovir (Valtrex) have been shown to decrease the severity and duration of the rash and shingles pain, but only if they are started within 72 hours of the appearance of the rash.
What triggers a shingles outbreak?
Shingles is triggered by a weakened or compromised immune system. Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a virus infection that causes painful rashes on the body, usually on one side of your torso. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox.
What are the final stages of shingles?
The 4 stages of shingles and how the condition progresses
- The stages of shingles are tingling pain, followed by a burning feeling and a red rash, then blistering, and finally the blisters will crust over.
- You will typically develop a rash about 1-5 days after you feel numbness or tingling pain.
How Long Can shingles last in the elderly?
Shingles typically lasts about 2 to 6 weeks. The blisters usually start to crust over after a week or so, but the itching and pain can continue for a few more weeks. The sooner you begin treatment with an antiviral medication, the faster the rash and other symptoms will start to dissipate.
What is the best pain relief for shingles?
For shingles pain, start with NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. You can find these over the counter on pharmacy store shelves, and they include popular medications like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
What foods make shingles worse?
Foods that have been found to exacerbate the shingles virus should be avoided where possible. The worst culprits contain the amino acid arginine that actually stimulate the herpes virus to replicate, such as, nuts, seeds, soy products, oats, coconut, flour (white and whole-wheat), and alas, chocolate.
How do you comfort shingles?
Wet, cool compress. In addition to taking a bath to relieve pain and itchiness associated with a shingles rash, apply a cool, moist compress. Do this several times throughout the day to relieve symptoms. Soak a cloth in cool water, wring out the water, and apply the cloth to the rash and blisters.
How long do the shingles last?
Symptoms of shingles usually don’t last longer than 3 to 5 weeks. However, complications can happen. The main complications that can result from shingles include: Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN).
Is shingles caused by stress?
Since stress affects the immune system, many researchers believe that stress could be a trigger for shingles. Researchers in multiple studies have linked chronic, daily stress, and highly stressful life events as risk factors for shingles.
Can you share a bed with someone who has shingles?
Shingles — also known as herpes zoster — is a condition caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles itself is not contagious. It can’t spread from one person to another.
What should I do if I have shingles?
Treatments for shingles pain can include:
- Anticonvulsant medicines like gabapentin (Neurontin)
- Antidepressants like amitriptyline.
- Colloidal oatmeal baths.
- Cool compresses.
- Medicated lotion.
- Numbing medications like lidocaine.
- Over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Prescription painkillers like codeine.