Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shingles is a disease caused by reactivation of the herpes zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this condition in the 60 Second Housecall.

Shingles is a painful condition caused by the virus that also causes chickenpox. It affects about 1 million individuals each year in this country.

Also known as herpes zoster, shingles occurs in people who have already had chickenpox. The virus remains in nerve tissue after a person recovers from chickenpox, remaining dormant until reactivated to cause shingles. The cause of this reactivation is not completely understood. Shingles usually occurs only once in a personís lifetime.

Most individuals who develop shingles are older than 50 years, have other medical problems or are immune-suppressed from medications they take.

Symptoms of shingles include a rash on one side of the body or face, blisters in the rash site that crust over, fever, headache, fatigue, chills and pain.

Antiviral medications, if taken soon after symptoms begin, can shorten the length of time a shingles episode lasts. In rare cases, shingles can be severe and cause critical illness, including pneumonia or encephalitis and a chronic neuralgia.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.