Shingles: Prevent Searing Pain
My grandmother, a fiercely independent woman of 86 years contracted Shingles a week ago. Related to Chicken Pox, Shingles is a virus that is excruciatingly painful and could lead to long term chronic pain and even blindness in the elderly. Imagine having the most painful mouth sore, but instead its spread all over one side of your face, into your eye and through your scalp. You can’t see. Suddenly, the world is gone. Combine that with fever, chills and dizziness. Then when you’re getting better, the searing pain turns into the most aggravating itchiness. It’s hard to sleep, eat or even use the bathroom. In my grandmothers case, she’s also suffering from extreme disorientation and loss of memory. She doesn’t recognize her own daughter (my Mom) and has no idea she’s been in the hospital for the past week. My grandmother went from being sharp as nails and totally mobile to seeing imaginary pots of boiling stew and wetting her pants. My heart is broken.
I read that 1 in 5 elderly people contract Shingles. That number doesn’t have to be so high. There is a vaccine. If you have parents or grandparents over 50, tell them about the Shingles vaccine. Lots of parents know about their kids getting Chicken Pox, but there aren’t as many people who know about Shingles among the elderly. It’s also important to know that if you see signs of Shingles, get treatment immediately. It will looks like a bunch of blisters filling up with liquid on one side of the body, typically around the eyes and forehead. A quick response to the first signs of Shingles can lesson the duration, pain and probability of long term effects.