Shingles

What is it?

Shingles is a viral infection characterised by painful rash on the skin.  

How do you get it?

Shingles is an outbreak of a previous chickenpox infection. The varicella zoster virus will stay in the nerve cells for years and will come back as shingles once it is active again. Shingles is usually triggered by stressful events such as illness or grief.

Who is most at risk?

People over the age of 50 and those with a poor immune system resulting from other medical conditions.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The pain and rash will run along the skin covered by the affected nerve. This pain can range from tingling to very severe pain. A rash will also develop within five days from the development of the pain. The rash would form a band around the rib cage, abdomen, face or forehead, or down an arm or a leg. Spots will appear and turn into blisters, which will eventually dry up to form a crust or scab.

How is it treated?

Anti-viral medication such as acyclovir will reduce the healing time of blisters and stop new blisters from developing.

How can it be prevented?

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect one against shingles.

Sources https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/S_T/Shingles

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