I have what? Shingles

Shingles

I have what? Shingles

Introduction

Yes, you heard it right shingles. It is cringe-worthy yes, but you have absolutely nothing to worry about, shingles are controllable, preventable and curable. For those who have no idea what shingles are, this article has got your back.

Shingles

Shingles are viral infections resulting from a virus known as varicella-zoster the same germ known to bring about chickenpox. After chickenpox, the virus varicella-zoster becomes inactive and relocates to the spinal cord and brain areas only activating years later to bring on shingles. The virus varicella-zoster checks into a category of viruses known as the herpes viruses, viruses’ notorious causing genital herpes and the cold sores.

Shingles are known to leave a burning or itchy sensation on one’s skin. Though they can manifest on any part of your body, shingles are more common to either the right or left torso of the infected. Consequently, the rash might develop on one eye or half the neck or face. The surprising thing is, some go through shingles without developing a single rash on their skins. Though not grave, shingles can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. While vaccines trim down the risk of occurrence of shingles, timely treatment shortens the shingle infection and lessens the probability of reoccurrence.

Shingles

Symptoms of Shingles

Though they only affect part of your body, the signs are easy to spot. The signs are, but not limited to;

  • A burning, tingly sensation
  • Pain
  • Heightened skin sensitivity
  • The red rash is evident few days after the pains
  • Blisters filled with fluid that eventually burst open and dry out
  • Itching and numbness

Others signs are;

• Fatigue

  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • A headache

Pain is more often than not, the earliest warning sign of shingles. The pain differs from one person to the next, to some it is unbearable to others it is almost inexistent. Pain located in major body organs such as kidneys, lungs or hearts, is often prone to misdiagnosis.

Shingles

When to See your Doctor

Like previously stated shingles are in no way life-threatening, but it is advisable to take a trip to your doctor upon seeing the following signs.

  • If the pain or rashes are close to your eyes. If ignored, the following can permanently damage your eyes.
  • If you are 60 and above. The risk of complication increases with age. Older people are at a higher risk of developing a complication.
  • If you have a weak immune system. A weakened immune system results from cancer, chronic illnesses or medication.
  • If the rashes are excruciating or widespread.

Causes

Though the causes of shingles are known, the reasons as to why the infection occurs remain unknown. However, rumour has it that the infection might result from the lowered immunity in persons of advanced age. Shingles are common to the old and those with weakened immunity levels.

 

Are Shingles Contagious?

Yes, shingles are contagious. The virus varicella-zoster can quickly be passed on to any person with zero immunity against chickenpox. The virus, however, can only be passed when one comes into contact with the open shingle sores. The person, however, develops chickenpox instead of shingles.

 

Till your shingle scabs heal, you should avoid contact with anyone who is yet to develop the illness, pregnant women, and infants.

What are some of the Shingles Risk Factors?

Any person who has had run-ins with chickenpox is at a higher risk of getting infected with shingles. Other aspects that promote the hazard of getting infected are;

  • Being past 50
  • Suffering from diseases that might otherwise weaken your immunity
  • Those undergoing chemotherapy. Chemotherapy lowers one’s resistance to illness.
  • Those under medication.

 

Complications that Result from Shingles

  • Skin infections if and when the blisters that result from shingles are not carefully treated
  • Vision loss if the disease occurs around a person’s eyes
  • Neurological complications if major sensory nerves are affected.

Prevention

Shingles are preventable. One can prevent them in the following ways.

 

Getting a chickenpox vaccine

Although the varivax vaccine is principally administered to young kids as a preventive measure for chicken pox, adults who are yet to suffer from chickenpox are advised to take the vaccine. The vaccine also reduces the rate of shingle infection.

 

Shingle vaccines

Shingle vaccines are the most guaranteed way of doing away with the infection

 

Conclusion

As previously stated, shingles are 100% preventable and controllable. Take the shingle vaccine as early as possible, like they say prevention is always the safest option. To those that are already infected, there is no need to panic. Visit your doctor as early as possible for proper diagnosis.

 

Shingles Virus Explained

Sources

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shingles/symptoms-causes/syc-20353054
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/shingles/

Shingles

 



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About the Author Stephanie Hill

Stephanie Hill is the Chief Editor of Healthy Fixation and blogs regularly on various blogs and health and fitness topics. Stephanie provides personal advice on the latest health news and recommendations on health related issues and products.

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