Shingles

Monday, October 03, 2011

Shingles is a painful, blistering skin rash due to the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox. Dr. Edward Hill discusses shingles in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the chickenpox virus. The chickenpox virus is also called varicella-zoster. Most people get chickenpox as a child. When the infection is over, the virus stays in the body. Your immune system may weaken as you get older, allowing the chickenpox virus to become active again. This can cause shingles. Most people get it when they are older than 50 years.

You might have an odd feeling or pain in your skin before a rash appears. The rash begins as groups of small red bumps or blisters and may be painful or itchy. Shingles can also cause fever or headache, and light might bother your eyes.

Your doctor may prescribe medicines to make the symptoms less severe and the rash go away faster. They work best if started during the first 72 hours of the rash.

There is a vaccine for shingles. It is recommended for most people who are 60 years or older.

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