Am I at risk for the Shingles Virus?

Mild Shingles Rash on FaceWhat is Shingles?       

For those of you who don’t know, the Shingles Virus is the varicella-zoster virus that has remained dormant in your body, and has now been revitalized to an active virus. It is the cause of two illnesses, 1) Chicken Pox and 2) The Shingles Virus.

The Shingles is the same virus that was once the chicken pox that you may have encountered in your younger years. If you are above or approaching age 60, it is imperative that you get this vaccination before the devastating effects of the Shingles hits you. If you’ve ever had the Chicken Pox; there is a more than likely chance the Shingles Virus is still in your system.

As you get older your risk of  breaking out in a rash of Shingles severely increases . Your immune system weakens with age, so your body will eventually not be able to keep the virus in check anymore. The worst thing is that one rash can last over 30 days; it’s a red blistering sore rash that people describe as causing throbbing and continuous sharp pain. 1 in 3 people will get the Shingles in their lifetime, and 25% of those people will have serious complications with their Shingles rash.

Are there any forewarnings to the Shingles Rash?

There are ways to know the Shingles is posing a threat to your health. The first warning sign is a strong headache and sensitivity to light. You may also feel very sick (flu-like) but have a normal temperature. This is only the start to the rash. Within a few days your skin may start to feel itchy and the itchy skin is most likely the site where a Shingles rash will appear within a few days. Once the rash appears, it will soon turn into small clusters that blister, ooze and will eventually crust over if not cleaned regularly. Some severe cases of Shingles include long-term pain and rashes that spread quickly over the body, or even stay on one’s face. Changes in vision can occur and the Shingles can even affect your cognitive abilities.

Call your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

What can I do about Shingles?

If you’re in the target age of Shingles (around 60 or over) the safest thing you can do is get vaccinated immediately. You’re at greater risk if you’ve ever had the chicken pox when you were little, and the shingles can take effect at any time. If you’re already experiencing forewarning signs to the Shingles, see your doctor for antiviral and pain medications; these can help you heal faster with less pain.

How do I care for the Shingles Rash?

The most important thing is to keep the rash clean. If the Shingles Virus is already attacking your immune system; the last thing you’d want is an infected rash. See your doctor and take prescribed medicines as directed.

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