We recently came across this review of our facility and it got us thinking about shingles.
“This place is remarkable. I went in with severe rib pain. I am going through an unbelievable stressful time in my personal life. I wasn’t even thinking about shingles. I have never had pain like this in my life. All the staff was extremely attentive and understanding. “
First of all, we’re extremely happy to have helped out with such an uncomfortable situation. Shingles is the worst! Seriously, have you had it? – It’s terrible.
What is shingles?
Well, essentially shingles is an awfully painful skin rash caused by a virus. While it’s also known as herpes zoster it’s not the same disease as the more commonly heard of: herpes simplex, despite the name similarity they’re just distant cousins in the viral subfamily: Alphaherpesvirinae
Shingles is commonly seen in older adults with weakened immune systems and if you’re affected once with Shingles chances are you’ll never get it again.
What causes shingles?
Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox is suddenly kick-started in your body. After chickenpox the virus is dormant in your nerve roots—and for many it stays dormant forever. However, in others the virus can “wake up” when the immune system weak and cause a shingles rash. While the root cause is unclear it is known that when the virus becomes active again, shingles occur, not a second case of the chickenpox.
The symptoms of shingles occur in stages ranging from annoying to agonizing:
- Sensitive to light
- Flu-like symptoms
- Itching, tingling, and slight pain in affected area
- Forming of a band or strip where a rash is developing
- Blister clusters
- Burning pain
- Oversensitivity of the area
- Hive-like rash
- Intense itching/burning
- Vision impairment
- Darkening of rash
If you reach stage 3 (or even experience a great deal of pain within stage 2) visit an emergency clinic immediately.
Shingles is treated with antiviral mediation and can help your symptoms right away – as well as helping your rash heal faster. If you suspect shingles, make an appointment with your doctor or visit an emergency clinic right away. Pain medication is often prescribed as well.
People age 60 and older have an increased risk of developing shingles (about 33%). Ask your doctor about Zostavax, a shingles vaccine recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)in 2006 to reduce the risk of shingles and its associated pain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a complete “What You Need To Know” page dedicated to the shingles vaccination – click here.