Summer months are here and each of us are worried about diarrhea and typhoid taking a toll on our health. Of course, there is chicken pox and shingles too that have become frequent visitors during peak summer time. One of the latest Hollywood news was on singer-actor Lin-Manuel Miranda who suffered from shingles. Different media and papers recorded different views on this issue and such conflicting views on an issue make one wonder if shingles is such a serious condition that can even lead to blindness.
Shingles is an infection that causes a painful rash. The infection is on an individual nerve and the surrounding skin surface that is supplied by the nerve due to the attack of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), a member of the herpes family of viruses. VZV is the same virus that causes chicken pox and an individual who was affected by chicken pox as a child could have the virus hidden in nerves beneath the skin. This could erupt as shingles years later on the skin due to lack of immunity, stress, certain conditions or treatments such as chemotherapy. The logic is like this:
Signs & Symptoms
The initial signs of shingles include:
Contagious or Not?
Shingles is definitely contagious. A person who was not affected by chickenpox nor was fully vaccinated against chickenpox can develop chickenpox when he/she is in close contact with someone who has shingles. Shingles is never passed through air via coughing or sneezing but only through direct contact with fluid from the blisters. Less contagious than chickenpox, risk of spreading of the infection is less if the rash is covered.
Shingles is not life-threatening, but complications do arise in about one in 10 people who have shingles. Some of them include:
Presently, no ways exist to eliminate shingles virus from the body but there are ways to ease symptoms.
Shingles is a common disease that can become less frequent due to vaccination development. Complications are also rare, but when they arise it can be troublesome. Physicians can help you with vaccinations and provide protective measures for safeguarding you from the infection.
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