What is Shingles ?

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What is Shingles ?

Shingles (also called Herpes Zoster) is an angry red rash on the skin caused by a virus called Varicella Zoster, which also causes Chickenpox. Shingles comes from the the Latin word Cingulum, which means a girdle or a belt. The rash usually appears on the body in the form of a well-defined band. Another characteristic of the disease is that the rash always appears on only one side of the body: either the left side or the right side. Large fluid filled blisters can be seen on a red skin, most commonly in the stomach and abdominal area or on the face: near the eyes and nose.

Shingles can be a very painful disease since the virus affects the nerve cells in the body. The only way to get Shingles is if you have previously had Chicken Pox. Research has shown that herpes virus (which cause common cold, sores and even genital herpes) never really leaves the body. Although you do not get another chicken pox infection again in your life, the same virus that gave you chicken pox can give you an attack of shingles. Even after you have fully recovered from a chicken pox infection, the virus does not get flushed out of the system completely. A few virus cells move into the nerve cells along the spinal cord where it lies dormant for many years. For some reason the virus flares up again and starts multiplying in the body's nerve cells. It then travels along the path of the nerve and affects the skin surface causing a very painful and itchy rash. 

Shingles can be very painful, but this is less likely if you are treated early, so visit your doctor as soon as the symptoms appear.






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