Shingles

(Herpes Zoster; Post-herpetic Neuralgia)

Definition

Shingles is a painful infection of the nerves and skin.

Causes

Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox . Shingles occurs in people who have had chickenpox. After causing the first chickenpox infection, the virus is not totally eliminated from the body. Some of the remaining virus settles in nerve roots near the spinal cord. When reactivated, the virus travels along nerve paths to the skin where it causes pain and a rash.
Shingles Blisters
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Risk Factors

Shingles is more common in women, and in people aged 50 years and older. Other factors that may increase your chance of shingles include:Shingles can occur in those with no known risk factors. Shingles is not usually transmitted from one person to another. But, a person who has never had chickenpox and never received the varicella vaccine is likely to get chickenpox if contact occurs with a person who has shingles. Covering shingles sores with a bandage reduces the risk of transmitting shingles to others.

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