Shingles by Dr. Dale
‘Shingles’ is a very painful rash usually occurring in middle aged and older adults, although young people sometimes get it, as well. It is caused by the chicken pox virus that the victim had as a child. It lies dormant in the nerve tissue of one’s body for years, then causes a rash along that particular nerve root. The cause for it to breakout again is unknown. Typically the rash is preceded a few days by unexplained pain in that area, then manifests itself with redness and clusters of small blisters along that nerve on one side of the body or other, but not both. A particularly dangerous place to have this is on the face and in one’s eye.
Shingles is not contagious for most people, but those with the rash should avoid pregnant ladies, as sometimes a transmission can occur which can affect the baby.
It is important to know that shingles can be effectively managed in many patients if detected and treated early enough with special antiviral medication. Also, for older patients and especially those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, or kidney failure, a vaccine is available that will help many people avoid a breakout. Those who get shingles after receiving the vaccine will usually have a milder case and probably not have the neuralgia pain that often persists for weeks after the rash heals.
Remember, if you develop a painful rash see you doctor or nurse practitioner as soon as possible. The earlier you begin treatment for it the better of you will be.
Delta Health Alliance