Shingles Complications in the Elderly And How Medicare Can Help

Shingles Complications in the Elderly And How Medicare Can Help

While many people are aware that shingles are caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, they are typically ignorant of the difficulties that Shingles can cause in the elderly. A rash on one side of the body or on the face can be extremely painful. Shingles often emerge as blisters that scab over after one week and disappear after two to four weeks. The majority of people who get shingles get a rash that appears in a stripe on the right or left side of their body. In rare situations, the shingles rash may resemble chickenpox and be more extensive than chickenpox. This is particularly common in people who have compromised immune systems.


Shingles Complications in the Elderly

Shingles are far more frequent than most people believe. By the time they reach the age of 80, half of the population will have developed shingles.

Shingles can affect anyone at any age, but it is most common in adults between the ages of 60 and 80. One in every three persons will get shingles by the age of 60. As a result, shingles are becoming more prevalent among the elderly.


What Causes Them?

Shingles are caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus. Shingles are distinct from typical chickenpox in that it usually affects only one side of the body. Shingles normally go through three stages.

  • A scaly rash.

  • Excruciating pain

  • The appearance of blisters that resemble chickenpox

Shingles are caused by the herpes virus. When a person gets infected with this sort of virus, the infection stays with them for the rest of their lives.

Because the virus is latent until the person's immunity is reduced, most people are unaware they have it.


Shingles-Related Pains

The most common shingles-related consequence is discomfort. Post-herpetic neuralgia%20virus%20causes%20shingles.) or PHN. People who get this condition endure excruciating pain in the regions where the shingles rash appeared.

Even after the rash has faded, the pain may persist. The pain from shingles usually goes away within a few weeks or months, although it might continue for years in certain situations. Persistent pain is the most prevalent symptom of shingles in people over the age of 60.

Approximately one out of every six people over the age of 60 who get shingles will have significant pain. Individuals' risks of developing shingles-related long-term pain increase as they get older.


Seniors with Shingles and the Risks They Face

Seniors who have shingles have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke. The risk of stroke is more than doubled in the week following a shingles outbreak. The chance of heart attack rises as well, though not as much as the chance of stroke.

While shingles may not be as painful in someone in their 30s or 40s, they can be excruciating in someone over 60.

Other variables that can raise the incidence of shingles and the difficulties that come with it, aside from age, are immune-compromising illnesses and stressful life events.

Shingles discomfort can be debilitating and have a negative impact on one's quality of life. When shingles-related pain lasts for a long time, it can make it difficult for people to go about their daily lives.

Outbreaks that start around the eyes or face might cause hearing or vision difficulties in certain people. Shingles can cause irreversible blindness if the cornea of the eye is compromised.


Also Read: What Does Medicare Cover After A Stroke?


Shingles complications in the elderly include:

  • A bacterial infection causes toxic shock syndrome.

  • Narcotizing fasciitis, which is a soft-tissue infection.

  • Sleep deprivation

  • Depressed mood

  • Pneumonia is a disease that affects the lungs.

  • Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)

  • Bacterial infections, which can leave scars

  • Hearing issues

  • Vision issues


Shingles Complications in the Elderly And How Medicare Can Help


Passing to Others

While shingles themselves are not contagious and cannot be spread from one person to another, the virus that causes them is contagious. This means that it can be transmitted from someone who has active shingles to someone who has never had chickenpox.

In this case, the person who contracts the virus does not have shingles; instead, he or she gets chickenpox.

Direct contact with the fluid produced by the blisters that occur with shingles can spread this virus. The person is not infectious before the blisters form. After the rash has crusted, the person is no longer contagious.



While there are medications available to help fight the virus, there are no medications available that can reverse the nerve damage caused by Shingles Complications in the Elderly.

As a result, it may be required to attempt a variety of pain medications, or possibly a combination of medications, to offer effective pain relief to people with PHN while minimizing side effects.

Topical lidocaine patches, anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants, and opioids are some of the treatments utilized to reduce the ensuing nerve pain.

Non-drug methods, such as biofeedback and relaxation, may also be employed to help in the treatment of shingles pain.


Shingles are extremely rare to reappear

In the majority of cases, persons who develop shingles only have one episode in their lifetime. A person can have shingles more than once in very unusual circumstances.

Individuals who are at least 60 years old should discuss getting the shingles vaccine with their doctor.

This vaccine can lower your chances of getting shingles and the difficulties that come with it. Even if you've had shingles before, you can still get the vaccine.


Also Read: What Vaccines and immunizations Does Medicare Cover?



Is the Shingles Vaccine Covered by Medicare?

The shingles vaccination is not covered by Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B.

Medicare Part D, on the other hand, will cover all commercially available vaccines, including the shingles shot.

While you're under your doctor's care, Medicare Supplement plans can assist fill in the gaps in your coverage.

Part D plans are reasonably priced, ranging from $13 to $76 a month.



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