Description of Shingles

Shingles is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus -- the same virus that causes chickenpox. Post being once infected by chickenpox, the virus tends to stay in the body. It may not cause problems for many years. As one gets older, the virus may reappear as shingles.
Causes and Risk Factors
The virus usually spreads through direct contact with the rash, and cannot spread through the air. One can be at an increased risk of the infection, if:
1. Aged over 50
2. Had chickenpox earlier
3. Has shingle rashes
4. Children
Signs and Symptoms
Early signs of shingles include:
1. Burning
2. Shooting pain (mild to severe)
3. Tingling or itching, usually on one side of the body or face
4. Rashes or blisters appear anywhere from 1 to 14 days later
5. If shingles appears on the face, it may affect the vision or hearing.
1. There is no cure for shingles. Early treatment with medicines that fight the virus may help. These medicines may also help prevent lingering pain.
2. A vaccine may prevent shingles or lessen its effects. The vaccine is recommended for people 60 or over. In some cases doctors may give it to people aged between 50 years and 59 years.
NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Content Details
Last updated on:
01 Nov 2021 | 04:56 PM (IST)
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