During Rosacea Awareness Month, family caregivers have an opportunity to learn more about this skin condition that affects millions of seniors nationwide. The goal of the National Rosacea Society (NRS) is to educate the public on how to recognize the condition and boost understanding about this widespread skin disease to help with treatments, research and better senior care.
Here are some frequently asked questions about rosacea, especially as they apply to the elderly:
Q: How many people are affected with rosacea in the United States?
A: The NRS estimates that more than 16 million people suffer from the condition, but it could be more as rosacea is often misdiagnosed as other conditions or not diagnosed at all.
Q: What causes rosacea?
A: As of today, there is no known cause of rosacea, although there are strong indications that there are genetic ties as well as issues with the immune system.
Q: Who is mostly affected with rosacea?
A: While fair-skinned women are most likely to develop rosacea, there are many cases out there that affect both males and females of all skin colors and conditions. Rosacea is most often diagnosed in middle aged and elderly people.
Q: What are the common symptoms of rosacea?
A: While different patients may manifest a range of symptoms, the most common is redness and swelling on the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. In some cases, this can extend to the neck, ears and even the chest. Some patients have small pustules that look like acne, while other patients may experience thickening skin around the nose. Still other patients may also have bloodshot and stinging eyes and a sensitivity to light.
Q: How is rosacea cured?
A: There is no cure for rosacea but doctors and dermatologists can recommend a number of treatments to minimize the appearance of the symptoms. In many cases, the symptoms are managed well enough that they are not visible. Common treatments include a topical antibiotic, oral antibiotic, laser therapy and light therapy. When rosacea affects the eyes, treatments can include eye drops and other optical treatments.
Q: Can rosacea be prevented?
A: There isn’t a way to prevent someone from developing rosacea. There’s also no way to predict whether someone will get rosacea. Rosacea isn’t contagious either so there’s no reason to avoid people with the condition. People with rosacea can also avoid flair-ups by steering clear of common triggers. For those who provide senior care, avoiding triggers is important to overall health and comfort.
Q: What are some of the triggers for rosacea?
A: Common triggers reported by the NRS that may aggravate rosacea include hot baths and hot tubs, exposure to sunlight, spicy food, some skin care products and makeup, alcohol and wind. Others report that any activities that cause the face to flush, such as exercise, can also trigger an outbreak. Each person may be affected by triggers differently.
Q: How do people with rosacea care for their skin?
A: There are many products that work well with an overall facial care plan for seniors and others with rosacea. A dermatologist can recommend a mild cleanser without abrasions to use along with a soft washcloth. Seniors should always use lukewarm water, never hot or cold. When drying the face, allow it to air dry or blot with a thick towel. The topical medication can then be applied to the skin.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Ralston, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.