What Is Shingles?

By albert
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
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Shingles is a viral disease caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which also causes chickenpox. The virus attacks one of the ganglions of a sensory nerve, and the area of the skin supplied by this nerve gets affected. And since this virus is common for both chickenpox and shingles, anyone who had chickenpox may have shingles later in life. Statically, about 30 percent of people may get shingles at some point in their lives.

For a person to develop shingles, they must acquire the varicella zoster virus or have had chickenpox. The virus can remain inactive for years, and later reactivate, and cause shingles. It is, however, not common to develop shingles even if you have the dormant virus in your body. While any person who had chickenpox can get shingles, the condition is more likely to occur in people 50 years or older.

1. Symptoms of Shingles

Shingles usually affects a particular area of the body on a single side. The first symptoms and signs include pain, numbness, itching, a burning sensation, and sensitivity to even the slightest touch. After a few days, a red rash appears on the affected area accompanied by fluid-filled blisters that keep breaking open, and a crust forms over them. Since shingles is a viral infection, there are common symptoms such as fever, headache, sensitivity to light, and general fatigue.


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