Shingles

shingles symptomsShingles is a painful skin condition caused by the varicella-zoster virus that is also responsible for chickenpox. Herpes zoster (shingles) manifests as pain, tingling, and burning sensations in the skin, followed by blisters that turn to sores. These sores then crust over and fall off, usually leaving no scarring.

Shingles and Chickenpox

Exposure to chickenpox in childhood can leave the inactive virus present in nerves in the body, with the potential to become active again as shingles in later life. Those over the age of sixty and those who had chickenpox in their first year of life are more likely to develop shingles, as are those with weakened immune systems. People who did not have chickenpox or a chickenpox vaccine as children may, as adults, develop chickenpox rather than shingles. It is unknown why the virus can attack again after many years but there are those who hypothesise that regular exposure to children with chickenpox keeps immunity active against the virus and those who are elderly and isolated may simply lose immunity over time.

Various natural remedies for shingles have been proposed, alongside conventional shingles treatments. It is important to begin treatment promptly in order to reduce the risk of long-term complications from shingles.

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