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Who Will Get Shingles? — an article on the Smart Living Network
January 6, 2008 at 4:15 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Who Will Get Shingles?

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Everyone who has ever had the chickenpox is at risk of developing shingles at some point in their life. Men and women are equally at risk and most of those who have obtained shingles are over the age of 50.

Children who were born while their mother had maternal chickenpox are also at risk of developing shingles (if chickenpox was caught during or a few days after birth).

Many adults live with the chickenpox virus in their body and never get shingles.

Who is at Risk the Most?

Those who have immune system deficiencies, such as AIDS, HIV and diabetes or are receiving chemotherapy (which weakens the immune system), and have had the chickenpox virus, are likely to get the shingles illness. When the immune system is weak, there is little hope in preventing and fighting shingles.

Elderly people are also at risk. If they haven't had the chickenpox before, it is best that they stay away from those with shingles or who have had the chickenpox. Although shingles is not contagious, when in contact with someone who hasn't had the chickenpox can result in that person getting the chickenpox, not the shingles illness.

How can you tell if someone is infected?

It's hard to know for sure if someone has shingles or had the chickenpox unless there are visible lesions and scars. Sometimes people have scars left behind from the chickenpox, but most of the time, you would never be able to tell. So it's always best to just ask.

If someone has shingles, you may notice rashes, blisters or bandages covering them. If unsure ask the person, or just keep away from them. Shingles doesn't leave behind scars, so it is difficult to look at someone and tell if they"ve ever had it. For those who have never had the chickenpox, catching the virus that causes it from someone who has shingles is very likely.

Problems Caused by Shingles

There are other conditions that can arise when getting shingles. For instance, if the blisters that form on your skin gets infected, it can lead to gangrene (the decay or death of tissue, due to interruption in blood flow) and scarring.

Motor paralysis is another issue that shingles cause. A lot of times, when the development of shingles occurs, one side of the face will become numb. And other times the paralysis is more severe, happening to areas that are in pain. The elderly and people who have immune system deficiencies are at a higher risk because their bodies won't be able heal as quickly from the paralysis.

Children and Shingles

Although this may seem rare, this does occur. Children, who are born with the chickenpox (from the mother having maternal chickenpox) or catch it before the age of one, are at high risk for getting shingles before the age of five. Sometimes when an infant is born with the virus or catches days after birth won't survive. Children should get the VZV vaccine at an early age to avoid catching the chickenpox at all.

Women and Shingles

Women make up the majority of the population who has shingles. Studies show that most of the people who get shingles are over the age of 50 (mostly over 80) and women make up 60%. It is important that women, men and children do what they can to boost their immune systems to help prevent shingles from occurring. Natural remedies are highly recommended because they have little or no side effects compared to medications.

Sources:

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/shingles/detail_shingles.htm

http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/infectious_diseases/shingles/

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