[dropcap]S[/dropcap]hingles are caused by the varicella zoster virus. It is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Usually, people are unaware of such virus, but if the body’s immune system is weakened by stress or illness then dormant virus get awaken and travel through the nerve to the skin’s surface. The awakened virus will not cause any chickenpox but give rise to a disease called shingles. The herpes zoster is medical term used for shingles.
The people in the initial stage of a shingles infection feel a burning, itching or tingling sensation and often complaints about sensitive skin. One can even observe rashes of chickenpox-like pus-filled blisters in a band across the skin. A shingles outbreak is extremely painful and varies for three to four weeks. The shingles sufferer experiences the pain without blisters. The making of proper diagnosis is also difficult sometimes.
The shingles are not contagious for adults who have had chickenpox. It can be spread to someone who has never had the common childhood. Any sufferer who has had experience chickenpox can develop shingles. Usually, it has been observed that it occurs in people over the age of 60. The sufferers under a great deal of stress or with weakened immune systems from chemotherapy treatment or conditions like AIDS or cancer are more at risk.
According to the health experts, it is estimated that up to 1,000,000 Americans develop this disease annually. The FDA approved the first vaccine against shingles is Zostavax. The vaccine is a booster shot of chickenpox vaccine which is given to children. It is approved for patients over the age of 60 years.