National Immunization Awareness Month is the perfect time to sit down and look at your vaccination records. You want to see if your parents are missing any important vaccinations, and you should do the same for yourself.
One of the vaccinations that you both may be missing is the shingles vaccine. It’s an important preventative. If you had chickenpox as children, you and your parents need to talk to your doctors.
There are two vaccines available. Zostavax is recommended for people 60 or older. The other, Shingrix, is recommended for people 50 or older. They’re the best way to avoid shingles later in life.
Shingles occur when the virus behind chickenpox comes out of its dormant state. While chickenpox creates itchy pimples, shingles form as a rash that’s typically on one side of the body. It causes nerve pain, tingling, and some itching. Some people get a fever. It can cause blindness if the rash appears near the eyes.
The biggest problem with shingles is nerve pain. The pain can be so severe in people that it makes it hard to function. It can take weeks to clear up. If shingles develop into postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), it can last for months. Some people have pain for years. While PHN isn’t a guarantee, upwards of 18 percent of people within singles get it.
Understanding the Vaccinations
Shingrix is the newer of the two shingles vaccines. You get two doses of the vaccine spaced about two to six months apart. If your parents are resistant to getting the vaccine, see if they’ll go with you. You can have the shots given to you at a participating pharmacy.
The side effects of Shingrix are minimal and last for a few days. Typically, it includes some discomfort and swelling at the injection site. Some people develop a headache, muscle pain, and fever. The side effects affect about 17 percent of those who get it.
Zostavax is the other choice. It’s no longer going to be used after November 18, 2020, so it’s unlikely your doctor will recommend this one. It’s less effective than Shingrix, so it’s being discontinued. Shingrix is proving to be effective over 90 percent of the time, so it’s the preferred option.
Home care is essential if your mom or dad has shingles. They may be overly exhausted as the pain and discomfort can make it hard to sleep. They shouldn’t be driving when they’re not sleeping. They may not want to eat. Caregivers can make sure they are not risking their health to malnutrition or dehydration while they recover.
You can also arrange home care services to help your parents while you’re recovering from shingles. If you’re in the right age group, you could end up with the virus. Take time to recuperate and know that home care aides are helping out so that you can focus on healing.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Elder Care in Oakland, CA, please contact the caring staff at Care America HomeCARE Services today. (877) 322-7326
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