How Do You Get Shingles?

November 28, 2011

Can't stop scratching? Cover your hands!

Shingles are a recurrent form of chicken pox, one that is often far more painful and without the resilience of youth. The virus that causes chicken pox, Varicella-Zoster, typically lays dormant in nerve tissue, and can become triggered again when the body’s immune system is weakened: by stress, by disease, or by aging (or all three!).

One theory suggests that the current rise in cases of shingles can be attributed to the chicken pox vaccine. Normally, when kids get chicken pox they renew immunity in the adults in their lives—parents, teachers, grand parents. But the chicken pox vaccine does not seem to have this effect.

For those who want that immune boost, there is a vaccine that may prevent or at least lessen symptoms of shingles.

What Are Shingles?

Shingles can look a lot like chicken pox, but the blisters are more likely to occur around the torso (though they can appear anywhere). Like the chicken pox, avoid scratching. Shingles is caused by a virus, and that virus can spread to other parts of the body and can cause chicken pox in anyone who has never been infected (or who has lapsed vaccine immunity).

The most significant thing in understanding “what are shingles” is that the pain of the blisters can be somewhat intense, and can linger even after the shingles symptoms have disappeared.

Scratching and spreading the blisters can cause severe side effects, so whatever tricks you used during chicken pox, try them again!

How Do You Get Rid Of Shingles?

Strengthen your immune system! Just like with any illness, give your body rest and drink lots of fluids so it can fight the virus. Make sure that you get a lot of nutrients; chicken noodle soup, vitamin supplements, and coconut water may all be of use to someone feeling too sick to eat.

It’s recommended that you see a doctor at the first sign, if you have a severely weakened immune system you may need a doctor’s support to fight the disease, and you may have other complications that need monitoring. While the majority of shingles cases will resolve on their own, it’s good to be proactive about your health!

Shingles can recur, so keep in mind how you get shingles: letting your immune system weaken.

What are your best tips to avoid scratching shingles/chicken pox blisters?

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