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SHINGLES (Herpes Zoster)

Shingles causes a painful rash that may appear as a stripe of blisters on the trunk of the body Usually from the waist to shoulders, Pain can persist even after the rash is gone (this is called postherpetic neuralgia).

For those who remember their experiencing of chicken pox when you were a kid? Unfortunately, for many, it can come back as shingles when you are over 80 an adult. According to the National Institutes of Health, one out of three people over 60 will get shingles, and 50 percent of

Americans will experience it before they are 80. It usually affects only one side of your body, starting out with severe pain or tingling and then developing into an itchy rash and possibly blisters. The good news is there is a vaccine available. Unfortunately, it is not known what reactivates the virus.

If you have a shingles rash on your face, immediately seeing a doctor for treatment, could save your eyesight.

Along with a painful, blistering rash, some people can also have one or more of the following:

· Fever

· Headache

· Muscle aches

· Stomach pain

· Vomiting

Fortunately, these symptoms tend to go away as the rash clears

If you have had the rash for longer than 2 to 3 days, it’s still important to see your doctor.

What should you not do if you have shingles?

To allow your rash to heal quickly, avoid wearing tight clothes, eating unhealthy foods, or scratching the rash. Try to stay at home until the rash scabs over. Otherwise, you may pass on the shingles virus to another person. Speak to your doctor as soon as you experience the first shingles symptoms.

Talk with your health care provider or pharmacist about benefits and potential side effects of any drugs prescribed for you.

Shingles generally lasts between 2 and 6 weeks. Most people get shingles only once. But it's possible to get it two or more times.

Health care providers usually diagnose shingles based on the history of pain on one side of your body, along with the telltale rash and blisters. Your health care provider may also take a tissue sample or culture of the blisters to send to the lab.

There is no cure for shingles. Early treatment with prescription antiviral drugs may speed healing and lower your risk of complications. At present these drugs include:

· Acyclovir (Zovirax)

· Famciclovir

· Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

There is one shingles vaccine currently available, RZV or Shingrix . Shingrix vaccine is recommended for the prevention of shingles and its complications. Two doses of Shingrix given two (2) to six (6) months apart are recommended for healthy adults 50 years of age and older. Shingrix is also recommended for adults who have previously received ZVL or Zostavax or varicella vaccine. Shingrix is also recommended for persons 19 years and older who are or will be immunodeficient or immunosuppressed because of disease or therapy.

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