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The incidence of adult shingles has increased by 90 percent from 1998 to 2003, following the release of the chickenpox vaccine for mass use. Prior to chickenpox vaccination, shingles was seen only in adults, but is now seen in children. Vaccination Rates Up, Exemptions Down in FY 2012; (Health Department Report Refutes their Own Claims). The varicella zoster virus is a type of herpes simplex virus (HSV) but is not the same as the herpes simplex virus that causes genital herpes.
Herpes zoster is not a virus but a syndrome that arises with reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV) years or even decades after chickenpox. Herpes zoster is the same as shingles, an alternative and commonly used name for this condition. Herpes zoster is more likely to occur in a person with a depressed immune system and the elderly.
Herpes zoster, commonly known as just zoster or shingles, is a condition caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV).
Shingles is the syndrome where a painful skin rash marked by the presence of tiny blisters usually forms on a dermarcated area on the skin surface of the head or trunk. Once the virus reactivates, it causes inflammation of the nerves and is therefore also known as acute posterior ganglionitis. However, shingles often arises for no known reason even in a person without any of these contributing factors. Images from CDC (1)The main symptoms of herpes zoster (shingles) is an itchy skin rash and pain which has been discussed in detail below.
Herpes zoster mainly affects sensory nerves but motor nerves that control muscles may also be affected.
Pain that lasts for longer than a month, even after the rash clears, is most likely a complication of shingles known as post-herpetic neuralgia.
All images have been sourced from the Dermatology Atlas (2) courtesy of Samuel Freire da Silva, M.D. Tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants and corticosteroids along with anesthetics may be needed for post-herpetic neuralgia. Treatment should be commenced immediately once a diagnosis of shingles is made, preferably within the first few days of the onset of the rash.
Zoster vaccine to prevent shingles and should be considered only for a person older than 60 years of age.
Ask a Doctor Online Now!Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis. Shingles is a painful skin rash caused due to the reactivation of a virus called Varicella-zoster. Shingles is caused by Varicella-zoster virus which falls under the category of herpes virus. Shingles usually develops in three stages; prodormal stage, active stage, and the post herpetic neuralgia.
It is very important to consult the doctor in the very first stage of shingles to prevent scarring and reduce the duration of the disease and the post herpetic stage.


Shingles: An acute infection caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same virus as causes chickenpox. The shingles rashes are caused by the virus called varicella-zoster, the same virus that brings about chickenpox. A specific cure for shingles has not yet been developed, so antiviral drugs are used to attack the virus and get rid of the rashes.
The rashes can be treated at home as well through applying cool compresses and calamine lotion to treat the inflammation and redness.
U am 29 years old and I’ve undergone herpes zoster below my chest area when i was 17yo and it was treated. Since the introduction of the chicken pox vaccine, shingles occurs in young children now – it is no longer a condition of the elderly like it has been for centuries. Shingles results in three times as many deaths and five times as many hospitalizations as chickenpox, and accounts for 75 percent of all medical costs associated with the varicella zoster virus.
After the active phase of the infection resolves, the virus stays dormant at the spinal nerve root, specifically the dorsal root ganglion.
It mainly affects the sensory nerves but can sometimes involve the motor nerves – those nerves that control muscles in the body. These symptoms usually settle after 10 to 15 days but can take up to one month to resolve completely. This gives rise to symptoms such as paralysis of the diaphragm, bladder and bowel problems, cranial nerve palsies and muscle weakness. A dermatome is an area of the skin which is innervated by nerves from a single spinal root. However, if the infection occurs in a vaccinated person it is usually less severe and shorter in duration. It is a painful disease which attacks the nervous system and rashes appear over the affected nerves.
If you come in contact with a person suffering from shingles you are at a risk of catching chicken pox.
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The virus that causes shingles is the exact same one that causes chickenpox, called the varicella zoster virus. After one develops chickenpox, the virus remains in the person’s system even after recovery. Shingles can affect any age group but is more commonly seen in the elderly and those with depressed immune defenses. Although the peripheral nerves to the trunk is commonly affected, the virus may cause inflammation of any part of the nervous system, even the brain (encephalitis), meninges (meningitis) or both (meningoencephalitis).
Chemotherapy also increases the risk.Those recovering from an illness or under stress are also at a higher risk. The person might suffer from pain and sensitivity in the area where shingles got developed.
Shingles occurs because of exposure to chickenpox or reactivation of the herpes zoster virus.


Otherwise known as “herpes zoster”, the shingles virus is one that remains dormant after a person contracts and recovers from chickenpox. In some people, the virus becomes reactivated and attacks the nerve pathways located on the skin. And the past few days i was busy cleaning furniture and due to dust my body got itchy and my chest got a rash and it becomes itchy until now and this area is where herpes zoster grew before. And because it is chronic, this painful rash and the scabs that go along with it occur throughout the persons life. The varicella zoster virus causes the common childhood infection known as chickenpox which resolves after a few weeks. The virus targets certain nerves with symptoms such as the rash and pain being isolated to those areas of the skin supplied by a single spinal nerve.
It is seen that fatigue and injury on the skin where rashes appeared are among the other causes. Shingles is basically developed when the immune system of the person fails to fight the chicken pox virus. It is reactivated when the person experiences certain types of stressors or immune deficiencies, setting off the shingles disease. The reason for the reactivation is yet to be fully determined but it has been found that immune deficiencies are a common factor in patients with shingles. However, the virus remains dormant for long periods of time in the body and may sometimes reactivate to cause inflammation of the nerve roots. Although shingles resolves within a month, it can sometimes lead to complications or the pain can persist for months thereafter (post-herpetic neuralgia). Shingles can not be transmitted from one person to the other; however because of direct skin contact the person might catch chicken pox.
This results in the rash which is known for following a particular pattern, such as appearing as a streak of rashes along one side of the torso. This does not happen in every person who had chickenpox and is more frequently seen in diminished immune states. Vaccines provide an effective albeit not guaranteed protection against developing shingles.
In the beginning, the patient will experience a mild pain, itchiness, and tingling sensation in the skin; however with time there will be fluid-filled blistering rashes on the skin. It causes numbness, itching or pain followed by the appearance of clusters of littles blisters in a strip pattern on one side of the body. The pain can persist for weeks, months or years after the rash heals and is then known as post-herpetic neuralgia. People with shingles are contagious to persons who have not had chickenpox and can catch chickenpox from close contact with a person who has shingles. A person suffering from shingles must maintain distance from others who are not immune to chicken pox or have not taken its vaccination. Treatment includes antiviral medication and pain medication. The term shingles has nothing to do with a shingle on a roof or the small signboard outside the office of a doctor but is derived from the Latin cingulum meaning girdle, the idea being that shingles often girdles part of the body.



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