Few people who have had a bout of shingles ever forget the blisters’ pain and rash that erupt, like so much wildfire, along the nerves under their skin. This pain lasts not minutes or hours but days and sometimes weeks. Even more ghastly, some patients continue to suffer from a complication called postherpetic neuralgia, whose pain lingers for months or even years. Certainly, the best way to avoid the disorder is to prevent it first, but this is tricky. It is largely because of the unique properties of the disorder.
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a complication of chickenpox, which is caused by the same virus, the varicella-zoster. Indeed, a 65 year old person may be shocked to discover that their excruciating rash is a callback to the itchy but benign chickenpox they caught when they were eight. (more…)