Shingles is a painful, yet common illness that affects people over 55 the most. If, as a child, you had chickenpox, you now have the potential to develop shingles. Chickenpox is caused by the herpes zoster virus, a virus that can hide in your body and evade your immune system for decades. As we age our immune system slows down and the virus can reactivate causing shingles.

The symptoms you should watch for are skin related. Since the virus hides in nerve cells, it causes a rash that follows infected nerves along the skin. Most times people feel a tingling or generalized pain in the area before it erupts and usually affects one side of the body. The lower back, along the ribs, and a stripe-shaped column over the forehead and around the eye are common areas where the rash erupts. The rash is very painful and usually resolves in 2 to 4 weeks, though pain may last for weeks and even up to a year after the rash resolves. This is known as “post-herpetic neuralgia”.

The best way to prevent shingles is through vaccination. The vaccine is a two-shot series and can help reduce the chances of developing shingles or can reduce the severity of infection. The vaccine can also lessen the chance of developing post-herpetic neuralgia. If you would like more information please click on this link: