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Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Shingles is a painful rash which erupts on one side of the body or face. It is caused by Varicella Zoster virus which is the same virus that causes Chicken Pox. After a chicken pox infection in childhood this virus can stay dormant inside the nerve roots of the body. Some factors such as stress, medications or low immunity can cause the virus to become active and this can cause shingles. At the onset of infection, patients can have severe pain even before the rash develops. Shingles is also known as Herpes Zoster and is distinct from sexually transmitted Herpes Simplex viral infection.

The red rash appears as a group of fluid filled blister on one side of body and eventually they get crusted over. During the active phase rash sheds virus and can cause Chicken Pox to a person who does not have immunity by either previous infection or vaccination.

Prompt treatment of Shingles with anti-viral medications can make recovery from this disease faster. It also decreases the complications of the disease such as Neuralgia which is chronic pain after the acute infection has resolved.

Prevention:  Avoid direct contact with patient who has shingles, if you have not had chicken pox or chicken pox vaccine.  Also Herpes Zoster vaccine is available which can decrease the risk of getting shingles and also complications of the disease. This vaccine is recommended for adults over the age of 60 by United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Resource: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001861/

This information is supplied by White Plains Walk In Medical Care
10 Chester Ave, White Plains, NY 10601

Note: All information on our website is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.


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