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Shingles

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Shingles

Shingles

Have you had the chickenpox? Before the vaccine, Chickenpox was a common virus that children got causing red, sore, itchy pockmarks (or blisters) on their skin. Once the virus cleared, children would start feeling better and the pox would disappear. But little do those that had chickenpox know, that there’s an adult form that you can get.

 

What are Shingles? 

Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Even after the chickenpox infection is over, the virus may live in your nervous system for years before reactivating as shingles. Shingles may also be referred to as herpes zoster.

This type of viral infection is characterized by a red skin rash that can cause pain and burning. Shingles usually appears as a stripe of blisters on one side of the body, typically on the torso, neck, or face.

 

When will they be gone?

Most cases of shingles clear up within two to three weeks. Shingles rarely occurs more than once in the same person, but approximately 1 in 3 people in the United States will have shingles at some point in their life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Symptoms of Shingles?

The first symptoms of shingles are usually pain and burning. The pain is usually on one side of the body and occurs in small patches. A red rash typically follows.

Rash characteristics include:

  • red patches
  • fluid-filled blisters that break easily
  • a rash that wraps around from the spine to the torso
  • a rash on the face and ears
  • Itching

 

Who can get Shingles?

Shingles can occur in anyone who has had chickenpox. However, certain factors put people at risk for developing shingles.

Risk factors include:

  • being 60 or older (although there are many cases of shingles in younger ages)
  • having diseases that weaken the immune system, such as HIV, AIDS, or cancer
  • having had chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • taking drugs that weaken the immune system, such as steroids or medications given after an organ transplant

 

There is a shingles vaccination that can help you prevent getting shingles, so if you’ve had chickenpox and have some of these symptoms you may have shingles. Schedule an appointment with your doctor today to get checked out. 

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