So, what exactly is Shingles?
Shingles awareness week runs from 28th of Feb to 6th of March
So who can get Shingles?
1 in 3 people will develop shingles in their lifetime and up to 99.5% of adults over 50 already carry the virus.
What causes it?
Shingles is caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus. A person’s risk of developing shingles increases with age. This is because the immune system naturally weakens over time as you age, which can allow the usually inactive virus to reactivate, despite how healthy you may feel. Anyone who has had chickenpox already has the virus that can cause shingles.
Who is most at risk?
Shingles is most common in people over 50 and those with compromised immune system.
A person’s risk of developing shingles increases with age. This is because the immune system naturally weakens over time as you age, which can allow the usually inactive virus to reactivate, despite how healthy you may feel. Anyone who has had chickenpox already has the virus that can cause shingles.
What are the symptoms?
It typically produces a painful rash that often blisters, and scabs over in 10 to 15 days and clears up within 2 to 4 weeks. Shingles usually appears on one side of the body or face. 48–72 hours before the rash appears, people may experience pain, itching, tingling, or numbness in the area where the rash will develop.
Shingles can appear as herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO), a shingles rash involving the eye or the nose, and can lead to long-term consequences, including pain, scarring and loss of vision (in rare cases). HZO affects up to 20% of people who get shingles.
TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OPTIONS
Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the virus that remains in your body for life after you have had chickenpox. If you haven’t had chickenpox, avoiding contact with active chickenpox and shingles cases, hand hygiene and cough hygiene may reduce your risk of developing chickenpox.
Treatment may reduce the severity and duration of illness, and depending on your symptoms may include weakening the virus and/or pain relief. Immunisation may help reduce your risk of both chickenpox infection and the reactivation that causes shingles.
If you think you may have shingles, please see a doctor as soon as possible.
GET IN TOUCH with your GP to get more information and see if you are in a high rish group.