Home Health Care Agency For Seniors
Serving Mercer, Burlington and Camden Counties

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Risk Factors and Complications with Shingles in the Elderly

Shingles is one kind of viral infection. In most cases, it will cause a rash that is very painful. Most often the rash will occur on the torso, but it can be found on the face, neck, and other areas of one’s body. The stripe of blisters can be painful, itchy, and excruciating. This condition is not life-threatening. However, the pain is real. There are vaccines that reduce one’s risk of getting shingles. However, today the focus is going to be on risk factors and complications of shingles.

Risk Factors of Shingles

When it comes to senior care, if someone you are caring for has had chickenpox before, they can get shingles. The majority of United States adults had chickenpox in their childhood. Some of the factors for developing shingles include the following:

  • 50 and Up: Those who are most likely to get shingles are 50 years and older. The older someone is, the higher their risk of getting shingles would be.
  • Diseases: There are certain diseases that weaken one’s immune system. For instance, those that have diseases such as cancer or HIV/AIDs have a higher risk of getting shingles.
  • Cancer Treatments: If someone is going through chemotherapy or radiation, they have a higher chance of triggering shingles.
  • Medications: There are some medications that will increase the risk of shingles. These medications mostly include steroids.

These are some of the risk factors for shingles. There are also some complications that can occur from this condition, as well.

Complications of Shingles

If someone you are caring for gets shingles, it is important to know about the complications that can occur. Some of these complications include the following:

  • Postherpetic Neuralgia: In some instances, the pain from shingles goes on for a lot longer than the blisters and rash. This is called postherpetic neuralgia. It happens because nerve fibers have been damaged.
  • Vision Loss: If someone gets shingles around their eye, this can lead to infection and damage to the eye. Eye damage is what causes vision loss.
  • Neurological Issues: Various nerves can be affected by this condition. In some cases, the condition can cause brain inflammation, paralysis of the face, or balance and hearing issues.
  • Skin Infections: It is important to properly treat the blisters from shingles. If they aren’t cleaned and treated appropriately, infections can occur.

These are some of the most common complications that may occur with shingles.

If you are a family caregiver for someone with shingles, it is important to get them the medical care they need. There are many treatments for shingles that can make your loved one feel better. Certain treatments can help the rash to heal up quicker, reduce the pain, and ease the itchiness, too.

Now that you know the risk factors of this condition and what complications can occur with it, you can be better equipped to care for your loved one.


If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Princeton, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.

Dr. Shelly Chinkes, DPM

Administrator, Mercer/Burlington Division at Care Street Home Care
Dr. Shelly Chinkes, DPM, Care Street’s able administrator has more than 30 years of clinical experience in private practice and Skilled Nursing settings, with specific experience in clinical case management in Gerontology.

Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.