Shingles Factsheet- Everything you should know

Shingles Factsheet- Everything you should know

Shingles is a viral infection that can occur to anyone irrespective of age, gender, religion or place. It results into painful rashes over the body but it occurs most often on left or right side of torso as a single stripe of blisters.

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox-varicella-zoster virus.

The following article will give you an insight into some facts about shingles.

1 in 3 people will develop shingles during their lifetime

People who had suffered from chicken pox during their life are at great risk of developing shingles and this risk increases with age. People with weakened immune system such as HIV positive or people suffering from leukemia and lymphoma, or the ones who take steroids or anti-rejection drugs are also likely to develop shingles.

It becomes worse once it grows

In the beginning shingles is marked with pain or tenderness but then it advances to painful, itchy, blistering rash on one side of their body, along the lines of the inflamed nerves. For example, if it begins at one of the thoracic nerves, you are likely to get a rash in a band or strip around the right or left side of your torso.

You can cure it

Although you cannot eliminate the virus totally from the body but you can quickly start the medication when the rash begins. In chicken pox, you cannot shunt off the virus from the body but the only way to cure it is to keep your medications with you and start taking them if you the virus get reactivated. Taking antiviral medications will help to clear up the rash more quickly.

Shingles can even result into unbearable pain

People with shingles can experience shooting pain, burning and itching and even weird sensations like something crawling under the skin. Some patients even have felt that there is an electric fence strapped on one of their sides and giving painful electrical shocks. This pain is excruciating and conventional painkillers have no effect on them.

Pain can last even after the rash and blisters disappear

Although the percentage for this is less but some people even develop postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) which is a chronic burning nerve pain which occurs at the site of the shingles outbreak. The possibility of developing PHN increases with age and it can even continue for a long time (for years).

Vaccination for shingles is available

The vaccination for shingles called as Zostavax was introduced in the year 2006. The vaccine has been proved to reduce risk of developing shingles. But as per CDC data only about 25 percent of seniors are able to get this vaccine every year.

Focus on building a healthy immune system

A healthy immune system will kick off many diseases before they trigger you. Since prevention is better than cure so try to build a stronger immune system. If you are more than 60 years of age than shingles vaccine is your best weapon against the shingles viruses. But if you never had chicken pox as a child, get yourself immunized against chicken pox.

But if you had chicken pox as a child, you need to follow a healthy lifestyle comprising of good eating and inking habits to strengthen your immune system.

And a healthy living is not restricted to healthy eating; it also includes a regular sleeping pattern, physical exercise, and managing stress with meditation. Thus, it is highly important for everyone to inculcate a healthy lifestyle instead of relying on quick medications which can cause long term side-effects and also not cure the disease.

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