Shingles is a serious disorder that can make life miserable for its sufferers. Although shingles has received some attention lately, many people are still unclear as to what exactly it is. If you're one of them, this simple guide will easily explain what exactly shingles is, whether you're at risk of getting it, and how you can protect yourself from developing it.
You Can't Get Shingles Without Chicken Pox
Consider shingles to be the sequel to chicken pox. Chicken pox is a virus that gets into your body and causes the familiar, itchy pock marks all over. Once you recover from chicken pox, the virus still remains inside your body, dormant. From there, it waits until your immune system weakens or you become old enough that your body no longer has a strong defense against it. Then the virus reactivates as the meaner version of itself, shingles.
Unfortunately, you can get shingles whether you actually had chicken pox as a child or were given a shot for it. As long as your body has been exposed to the virus, you're at risk.
What Shingles Does
Shingles takes its name from the shingle-like formations it creates on the skin where breakouts occur. These marks are more painful than the pockmarks that are formed by chicken pox. Unfortunately, shingles also target the nerves of the body, leading to severe pain in the area where the shingles appear. The one good thing here is that unlike chicken pox, shingles are typically restricted to one area of the body, like a leg or part of the chest. However, shingles can also appear in worse locations, including the eye, where it can potentially cause blindness if left untreated.
Shingles, unlike chicken pox, can come and go. However, the nerve damage is often permanent, so even without active marks on the skin, sufferers are often left in agony.
Generally, the best things doctors can recommend for preventing shingles is doing what you can to keep your immune system strong and your body healthy. Beyond that, your best bet is getting the shingles immunization.
The shingles vaccine is designed to help protect you against ever developing shingles. That's why it's so important to get it even if you're currently healthy. The shingles vaccine doesn't always prevent people from getting shingles, but in cases where people have gotten the disorder after having had the shot, the symptoms are far less severe than their counterparts who never had the shot. In either case, the shingles vaccine can help to protect you from excruciating pain and unsightly marks on the skin.
Shingles is a serious disorder that can cause intense pain and suffering. If you've had the chicken pox or a chicken pox vaccine in the past, talk to your doctor about whether you should receive a shingles vaccine.