Skin Rashes in the Elderly - What You Need to Know

Skin Rashes in the Elderly - What You Need to Know
Home Care in Salt Lake City, UT

As adults age, many organs in the body go through changes and the skin, the body
s largest organ, is no exception. Since the elderly are more susceptible to certain diseases and infections due to a weakening immune system, any rashes or skin changes shouldn t be ignored. Here are some common skin issues that affect the elderly and what the elderly and their caregivers should do about them.

Shingles (or herpes zoster) is a painful skin rash caused by the same virus as chickenpox. The chickenpox virus lies dormant in humans after the chickenpox symptoms have gone away but sometimes it can get awakened in elderly adults. When it is awakened, a shingles rash will appear. This rash will only appear on one side of the body in band or strip shape. It will produced filled blisters and is very painful. Any elderly adults who suspect that they have shingles should seek medical care right away.

Bedsores are very common in elderly adults who lay in a bed or sit in a chair for long periods of time. Elderly adults who have trouble getting around may be at a higher risk for developing bedsores which can progress into deep ulcers on the skin. For this reason, it is important for caregivers to help the elderly adults under their care to rotate and change positions frequently.

Xerosis is very very dry skin. The elderly are at an increased risk for xerosis because it is more difficult for aging skin to retain moisture. In the winter, xerosis can be aggravated due to the cold, dry air. Xerosis can cause the skin to be itchy, flaky, scaly, and irritated. Elderly adults can prevent xerosis from getting worse by using mild soaps, limiting time spent in hot baths, showers, or hot tub, and using oil-based lotions.

Hives are a common allergic reaction to certain medications and foods. They can also be caused by infections. Hives are red welts that can itch and burn. When an elderly adult has an outbreak of hives, it is important that they seek medical attention. If it is indeed a medication that is causing an allergic reaction, a doctor should be able to prescribe something different.

Elderly adults should consult their doctor or dermatologist about any new or unusual skin conditions and rashes. Rashes can be a symptom of more serious medical conditions and should not be ignored.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Salt Lake City, UT, contact the caring staff at Interim Healthcare. Call today 801-401-3515.

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