Shingles is a viral infection that affects a nerve and the surrounding skin, caused by reactivation of varicella-zoster, the chickenpox virus. After varicella zoster causes chickenpox, mostly in childhood, it remains dormant in the body for life. The reactivation of the dormant virus is what causes shingles. Therefore, anybody who had chickenpox in their childhood has this virus hidden in their nerves. Shingles, also commonly known as herpes zoster, causes painful rashes on the skin and unusual pain on one side of a patient’s body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 of 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. Not everyone predisposed to the virus will develop shingles. As much as children can suffer from the symptoms of this viral infection, older people and those with weak immune systems are at an increased risk of developing shingles. (more…)
Shingles and chickenpox are itchy, painful, and cause an immense amount of discomfort for those they affect. It is tempting to call them the same, given their similarities. However, they are two very different illnesses.
We commonly associate chickenpox as a prevalent childhood virus. It starts with a fever or fatigue. Then, after a couple of days, the tell-tale itch, a blistery rash forms on the face, chest, and back. Then it spreads over the rest of the body and continues to itch before drying out, scabbing, and falling off. (more…)