It all started way back when your dad was just six years old. He came home from school one day covered in itchy red bumps he had caught from another child in his class – chicken pox. He itched and itched for days, but his mother told him not to scratch so that the bumps would go away on their own. After a while, his skin was clear, he was no longer contagious, and he went back to school, completely healed, not knowing that the virus was still lurking inside him, waiting to be reborn decades later as an even more sinister malady: shingles.
Most people believe that once a child has had chicken pox once, they will never get it again. In almost all cases, this is technically true. Having chicken pox usually means that you are immune to getting chicken pox a second time. However, you can get shingles.
When one has chicken pox and they recover, the virus remains in the body, going into a dormant state and remaining near your spinal cord and brain within the nerve tissues. Shingles occurs when the virus reactivates, and manifests as a painful rash that can make the itchy torture of chicken pox when your father was a child feel like a walk in the park.
The earlier you can get a shingles diagnosis, though, the earlier you can start treating it. If you or your elderly care aide notice any of the following symptoms in your father, your mother, or even in yourself, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to get a salve for treatment.
Itching – This symptom will surely take your father back to the first time he battled this virus, way back when he was only six years old. A bothersome itching, usually confined to one side of the body can be a sign of shingles, even before the telltale rash appears.
Rash – A stripey rash that wraps around one side of your abdomen or chest is the most common way that shingles manifests itself. The rash will be red, and will eventually feature blisters that burst and release fluid before becoming covered with a scabby crust.
Pain – Pain in the first symptom that will occur when one has shingles. Sometimes the pain is so severe that the condition can be mistaken by the sufferer as being a heart condition, or a problem with another organ. Numbness, tingling, and even burning can also be symptoms that usher in the rash.
A shingles sufferer may also have a headache, a sensitivity to light, a fever, or headaches. You and your elderly care aide should be on the lookout for all of these symptoms, because shingles is not an easy condition to live with, and your elderly loved one should not have to suffer any longer than they have to. While shingles is still painful even after being diagnosed, it usually goes away more quickly with doctor-prescribed salves and medications.