Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Shingles: The Basics

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Shingles: The Basics

Article excerpt

What is shingles? Shingles is caused by the Varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox, but it behaves a little differently than chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the Varicella virus stays dormant in the body. Scientists aren't sure why the virus can reactivate years later causing shingles. Almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime.

Who can get shingles? Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox can develop shingles, even children. However, the risk of shingles increases as you get older. People who are immunocompromised (e.g., those with certain cancers, HIV) or receive immunosuppressive drugs (e.g., steroids or drugs given after organ transplantation) are at greater risk of developing shingles. Most people who develop shingles have only one episode during their lifetime. However, a person can have a second or even a third episode of shingles.

What are the symptoms?

* Rash of itchy, fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over; unlike the chickenpox rash, which can occur all over the body, the rash associated with shingles will only appear on one side of the body and will follow along specific nerve pathways.

* Burning, numbness, or tingling sensations in the skin

* Sensitivity to touch

* Fever

* Headache

* Sensitivity to light

* Fatigue

How is it treated? …

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