Shingles: What Do You Know About It?

What Do You Really Know About Shingles?

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1. Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus TRUE_______FALSE_______

2. Shingles is contagious TRUE_______FASE________

3. Shingles may reoccur but only in the same spot TRUE_______FALSE___________

4. There is headache and photosensitivity last with shingles TRUE________FALSE__________

5. People over the age of 60 should receive the shingles vaccine TRUE________FALSE______

6. There is a blood test that can diagnose shingles TRUE__________FALSA_________

Do You Need Information on Chickenpox (Varicella)?

Yes, because the two are the same virus.

An article from WebMD talks about Varicella, who can stay home and rest, take plenty of fluids; take many baths with baking soda or oatmeal, rest, watch cartoons and drive the parent or sitter crazy. Right, you guessed it; young children. However, if the person with chickenpox, even if that person is a child, has an autoimmune disorder, is older than seven years of age, has any chronic medical condition or disease, they have to be seen as soon as possible by their physician to order to receive the proper treatment.

However, what happens if the sitter of the child with the chickenpox also happens to be the grandparent? That’s right, now there’s both young children and their grandparent down with the same virus; Varicella.

Just as 1 + 1=2 now one case of chickenpox added to an adult who has never had chickenpox equals…chickenpox.

What if an adult who has had chickenpox gets the fluid from the vesicles (oozing sores) of the child’s chickenpox on an open cut or sore? Will they get the shingles? No.

But will they catch the chickenpox? If the person has never had chickenpox then yes,they could get chickenpox regardless of how old they are at the time.

If the person has not had chickenpox then that person may get the chickenpox and would then be at risk of contracting the shingles. sometime later in their life.

Why? Because shingles *herpes zoster) can only occur once the person has the antibody for the chickenpox in is/her own bloodstream.

As with all infections, the best way to prevent the spread of any disease is to wash your hands.

Also as usual, the older we become, the harder it is or our bodies to recover from anything, even a simple virus.

Adults are extremely vulnerable to chickenpox IF they have never had chickenpox. There are two definitive tests for the zoster virus, a blood test and a culture from an oozing sore.

This is the WebMD site that was mentioned earlier. It is very informative, stating the pain affects the nerve roots. In fact, the person who has shingles often refers to the pain as a deep, tingling type of discomfort that gradually worsens as the days pass. Eventually the virus will work its way out of the body and will exhibit a flat, reddened “v” shaped area, typically only on one side of the body with the most common site being the flank, or lower back. The area then begins to show evidence of small blister like circles, similar to the vesicles with chickenpox.

However, instead of itching, there is severe nerve pain. Usually, all evidence of the shingles outbreak will be gone within four to six weeks. Re-occurrences are rare but not unknown and can occur on another site of the body. Most of the time shingles stays to one side or the other of the spinal cord however there are cases when shingles virus is bilateral, on both sides of the body.

The medication commonly prescribed is called zovirax. Medline Plus is a good site to learn not only about shingles but zovirax (acyclovir) as well. There are also other medications that may be needed for a while after recovery from shingles due to what is known as postherpetic neuralgia (pain).

Perhaps the best news about this often disabling condition is the fact that now there is a vaccine to help protect everyone over the age of sixty. There are persons who should not receive his vaccine, including persons with active a case of tuberculosis, anyone with an allergy to gelatin or neomycin, anyone who has weakened immune system or who may be pregnant.

There are also benefits found when persons over the age of sixty add proper amounts of fruits and vegetables to their diet. Additional studies indicate that persons who are exposed later in life to the Varicella virus are less likely to develop shingles. However, as most children are receiving the vaccine to prevent chickenpox altogether this is less likely to happen. Additional information can be found at the following address:

Only your physician can diagnose and prescribe treatment for shingles. However, having the information, forewarned so to speak, is the best and first defense anyone can own.


wash your hands frequently and well
wash your hands frequently and well
Shingles
Shingles
Microscpic version of the herpes zoster virus
Microscpic version of the herpes zoster virus

Still want the answers to the quiz? OK

1. TRUE…THE VIRUS’NAME IS HERPES ZOSTER

2. TRUE…EXTREMELY CONTAGIOUS UNTIL THE PERSONS RASH AND OOZING BLISTERS DEVElOP A CRUST

3. FALSE…MOST PERSONS WHO HAVE SHNGLES DO NOT HAVE REOCCURENCES, HOWEVER, IF IT DOES REOCCUR IT CAN APPEAR IN A TOTALLY DIFFERENT AREA OF THE BODY

4. FALSE…THESE SYMPTOMS OCCUR FIRST WITH HERPES ZOSTER (SHINGLES)

5. TRUE…ALL HEALTHY ADULTS OVER THE AGE OF SIXTY SHOULD RECEIVE THE VACCINE.

6. TRUE…A BLOOD TEST CAN DETECT THE IgM ANTIBODY IN THE BODY BUT ONLY WHEN THE VIRUS IS ACTIVE. THE FLUID FROM THE VESICLES CAN ALSO BE CULTURED, HOWEVER BY THIS TIME THE VISUAL DIAGNOSIS ITSELF IS SUFFICIENT


What is written here does not now nor does it ever take the place of your physician’s advice and services of your physician.


Consult your physician every time for all things medically related and of course, if you feel you have any of the signs or symptoms of what has been written in this hub, please contact your physician for a consultation as soon as possible.


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Comments 8 comments

Smireles profile image

Smireles 7 years ago from Texas

Very good article about chicken pox and shingles. This is a serious and painful illness. Good research.


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 7 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

thank you Smireles! yes, I have hd many patients with shingles...its one of disorders that a lot of us nurses get incorrect info in our heads and can't seem to get it out, you know? So writing it all down has always helped me keep it straight.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

That shingles photo is scary enough on it's own! I've known several people have shingles, and it's not a great experience from what I've seen. Thanks for some good information here.


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 7 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

isn't it though? and Amanda, this was the least frightening...makes you have a lot more empathy for people though doesn't it

I will be in the age bracket for the vaccine myself in just a few years and I will get mine/though from what I learned since my kids DID have the chickenpox (at xmas in'88 poor things) then I have less risk but still...I will take all the protection I can get!!


supercibor profile image

supercibor 6 years ago from Dominican Republic

I had varicella when I was 6 years old. Most of my classmates also were affected.

Great article

Hector


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 6 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

thank you hector!! I remember my momma taking my sister and I all up and down the block to "see" whichever one of our friends had whatever was going around at the time so all of us in the 1950's had everything...then in just another decade the mindset was all different...I remember holding my youngest brother in my arms at Minor Elem in Bham al to get the sugar cube polio vaccine and around the same time... I was still less than 12 I guess... was the smallpox vacc ugh that one messed up my entire summer!!! :(


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Good advice. I have never had chicken pox. I need to go get the vaccination for CP for sure. Thanks for the reminder. My doctor told me that once!


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 4 years ago from Tucson, Az Author

absolutely rebecca aqnd don't do as I did and let the cost through off your schedule for getting the vacc

shingles are no fun and gulp can re occur!

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