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Shingles for Seniors: Dos and Don'ts for this Serious Virus

The shingles virus is more common among the elderly.
The shingles virus is more common among the elderly.
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Shingles, as many people know, is a painful virus that develops when the chickenpox virus is reactivated long after it has disappeared. While the reasons for this reactivation aren't exactly clear, scientists do know that it tends to happen more in elderly populations—and that people with weaker immune systems are more at-risk.

While hardly deadly, the shingles virus is an extremely painful virus that can cause the victim to suffer long after it's gone away. For this reason alone, seniors need to recognize the dos and don'ts that may better their odds of avoiding this virus.

Do recognize the symptoms

If you've ever had the chickenpox, you should recognize the symptoms of shingles, so you're prepared to take action if and when an attack strikes. The virus may be resurfacing if you find yourself faced with any of the following symptoms:

  • A burning pain, numbness, or tingling, typically on one side of the body or face
  • Red rashes
  • Blisters
  • Sensitivity to light or touch
  • Fever or headaches

Don't underestimate past conditions

If you've been diagnosed with past conditions that compromise your immune system, you may be more susceptible to developing shingles than others. These conditions may include, but are not limited to:

  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Cancer

Do take an immune support supplement

While scientists and researchers alike don't know exactly what causes shingles to resurface, they know there are common links to weak immune systems. People who've either had the chickenpox or not been vaccinated should consider taking a regular immune support supplement, like echinacea, to better their odds of fighting off a potential attack.

Don't eat certain foods

Food is our body's primary fuel source, but it can also be the reason we fall ill. Some foods, particularly those that have been processed, can affect your body the wrong way. These foods include:

  • Refined sugars found in juices and desserts
  • Arginine-rich foods, such as chocolate and nuts
  • Saturated fats
  • Processed carbohydrates

Do see your doctor

If you're over the age of 50 and have previously battled chickenpox, it would be wise to consult your doctor to learn more about your specific circumstances. Medical doctors know your history and how it may impact your situation, so consulting with them is paramount if you fear you may be at risk.

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Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to our viewers' health and well-being, which is why we initiated Sinclair Cares. Every month we'll bring you information about the "Cause of the Month," including topical information, education, awareness, and prevention. August is National Immunization Awareness Month."