Here’s what you should do if someone in your family gets shingles

Shingles aka herpes can be the worst nightmare for an elderly person. Unfortunately, they are painful as hell.
Shingles might mess up your nerves forever! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Nikita Bhardwaj Published: 18 Jun 2021, 14:47 pm IST
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If you were told that chicken pox is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, it’s completely wrong. The fact is that they can strike back at an older age and become severe and immensely painful. Technically, they are known as shingles. 

There are so many facts about shingles that are important for you to understand. Once you gain awareness, you can deal with it effectively, in case it happens in your family. 

So read on to know everything about shingles.   

What are shingles?

According to Dr Rinky Kapoor, consultant dermatologist and dermato-surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics, shingles (herpes zoster) can be termed as a viral infection that can cause painful rashes. 

Did you know? Shingles occur anywhere on your body, but very often tends to appear as a single strip of blisters that wraps itself around the left or the right side of the torso. 

Elderly must have an active lifestyle. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Are you aware? One can suffer from it owing to the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that invites chickenpox. Anyone who has suffered from chickenpox may encounter the problem of shingles. Moreover, this is not a fatal condition but it can rob your peace of mind as it is painful. Shingprix vaccine is available, but it’s not always effective, even though it reduces the risk and the severity,” she suggests.

Here’s why shingles are caused

As mentioned above, you can encounter this problem, owing to the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that can lead to chickenpox. You will be shocked to know that once you recover from chickenpox, the virus enters your nervous system and is present there for years. 

Later, it may reactivate and travel along nerve pathways to your skin, giving you shingles. Remember that not everyone who has had chickenpox will get shingles. The exact cause of shingles is still not known. But, it is thought to occur owing to low immunity to infections as one ages. It is common in older adults and in people with weak immune systems.

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Some early signs of shingles
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Itching
  • Upset stomach
  • Shooting pain
  • Red dots on the skin
  • Redness in a particular area 

You should immediately consult a doctor and seek timely treatment.

Dr Kapoor reveals some tips to help someone with shingles

1. Take antivirals as suggested by the doctor. Opt for cold compress and lotion only after your doctor has prescribed it.

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Get those shots on time. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Using over-the-counter medication can be risky for you. Keep the affected area clean to avoid further pain and problems.

3. Do not scratch the affected area.

4. Try to wear loose-fitting clothes. Wearing tight clothes can irritate the skin and the rashes. Make sure that your clothes or anything like plastic don’t stick to the rashes.

5. Your shingles will take around a month to heal. So, try to maintain good personal hygiene during that time and otherwise.

6. Do not be around pregnant women or the ones who haven’t had chickenpox ever.

“Be in a separate room, if you have shingles. Make sure that people are not around you all the time. Whoever comes in contact with you needs to wash their hands thoroughly. Be in the room and just rest. Do not venture out of the house or walk around the room. Try to get yourself vaccinated, after consulting a doctor. Get all your doubts cleared by a doctor. Get a thorough understanding of this condition, as there is a lot of ignorance about it. After all, it is imperative to stay healthy and hearty as much as you can” concludes Dr Kapoor.

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About the Author

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content. ...Read More

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