What is “Shingles” and how do we get it?
Shingles is a painful condition characterized by a skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox - the varicella zoster. It is also known as Herpes Zoster. Your first exposure of this virus usually as a child leads to the disease popular to all of us, chickenpox. It causes itchy and painful sores spread all over the body.
After one acquires and recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body and remains dormant there for years. For many people it can stay dormant forever. However there are also instances when this virus is reactivated and travels from the nerve fibers to the skin causing shingles.
This is when painful rashes begin to appear …show more content…
However some people are more prone to it. Stress is a huge factor as it has the ability to weaken one’s immune defense. Mainly, the immune system is what allows this virus to remain silent for years but when it is compromised, that’s when the body is no longer able to keep it in control.
Therefore it is commonly seen in people with weak immune systems such as in older people or in young ones with compromised immune systems such as those with HIV or those undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Complications of Shingles
In some instances the pain that is associated with shingles remain for months or even years after the rashes are gone. This is common among adults who are over 60. This is known as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) and can cause severe pain. The rash could also get infected and antibiotics would be needed. Furthermore, shingles can cause inflammation of the eye if it affects the nerve near the eye. This can affect one’s vision.
On rare occasions, the virus can infect the brain (encephalitis) or other parts of the body. This complication is very rare though. Pneumonia is also another complication. These serious complications are usually rare and most people do not develop them.
Treating Shingles with