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What Are Shingles — an article on the Smart Living Network
October 29, 2007 at 4:20 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

What Are Shingles


Shingles is another name for a condition that's called "herpes zoster." Okay, let's take it a little bit slower. You want to know the answer to some very important questions. I'll answer them for you, and in terms we'll both understand.

What are shingles?

Shingles are painful blisters and skin rashes that cause discoloration in the affected area, leaving your skin itchy, red, and with a painful rash. The cause of shingles is from chickenpox. When you have chickenpox, your immune system is weakened, so the virus can stay in your nerve cells longer. When you get older, you're more susceptible to getting shingles because the virus is attacking your body, which then causes the painful shingles.

What are the symptoms of shingles?

In most cases, shingles are sometimes confused for the pains of kidney stones, gallstones, appendicitis, and even a heart attack. This depends on the location of the affected nerve. Some of the common symptoms of shingles are:

  • Blistering rashes
  • Itching
  • Numbness
  • Oozing blisters
  • Pain
  • Painful rashes
  • Reddish bumps
  • Stinging bumps
  • Tingling

How does someone get shingles?

You can only get shingles if you'se had chickenpox in the past or if you'se had the chickenpox vaccine. If you'se had chickenpox, even if it was years ago, the virus stays in your body, causing your immune system to not work at its fullest potential. This then causes the virus to escape in your body and cause shingles. Age has something to do with getting shingles also; those who are over 50 years old are more susceptible.

Where can you get shingles?

The back, chest, or on one side of the face are the most popular places that shingles appear on. The eyes can also be affected in some cases that can affect eyesight and may even cause blindness.

Are shingles painful?

For a few people, the pain can last for only a few weeks, but the pain may last longer for others. However, for the majority of shingles sufferers, the pain goes away in one to three months.

Are shingles contagious?

No. Nobody can catch shingles from you, and you can't catch shingles from anyone else, but you and other people can catch chickenpox if you or they haven't had chickenpox in the past or had the chickenpox vaccine. For those who have shingles, they should stay away from babies 12 months or younger and pregnant women, just to be safe.

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