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What Are Shingles?

What are shingles? Shingles are a virus that affects the nerve ends. Shingles are caused by the zoster virus that also cause chicken pox in children. After a child recovers from chicken pox the virus will remain dormant and when they get older and suffer some kind of stress, injury or have low immunity the virus will start up again in the form of shingles.

Shingles are a rash that will usually appear on the face or body.  They usually appear as a band or strip and cover a small area.  Shingles usually appear in adults that are stressed, injured or have a weak immune system.

Shingles are caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chicken pox in children and adults.  The zoster virus will remain in a person's system and when they get older, wit will start up again in the form of shingles.  In some people, the virus will remain dormant in the nerve roots forever.

Shingles cannot usually be passed on to someone else but here is a chance that if a person has not had chicken pox or been vaccinated for chicken pox will catch shingles from a person who has the virus.

A person who has shingles can sometimes pass the virus to a child who has never had chicken pox or been vaccinated for chicken pox.  The exposed child will get chicken pox not shingles.  In order for a child to get the virus, they must have direct contact with the other persons shingles rash.

Shingle infections do not usually affect the lungs so they are not spread through the air.  Chicken pox can be spread through the air because the virus does affect the lungs.

A person with shingles will not have a rash in the beginning but they will have a burning and sensitive skin.  The shingles rash will first appear as small blisters and have a red area around them.  From 3 to 5 days more blisters will appear.  Shingles are so painful because they affect the nerve ends.  The blisters will break and fluid will come out and then the area will scab over and heal.  A shingles attach will usually last 3 to 4 weeks.  In some cases, a person will have severe pain but will not have the blisters. 

I you suspect you might be getting shingles go see a doctor.  Your doctor can prescribe medication that will help with the discomfort of shingles.  Sometimes doctors will prescribe antiviral medications and pain medications.  Antiviral medications will usually make the rash heal faster.  Do not scratch the rash and keep it clean so you do not get an infection.  If you get any type of rash, consult your doctor to determine the cause as there are several things that can cause a similar looking rash.

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Comments (1)

I know people who have had this and it's pretty painful. 

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