Common myths surrounding the condition. The truth might surprise you.
Shingles can appear anywhere on the body but it often relapses as a single strip of blisters in either side of the rib cage. The same virus that instigates chickenpox, known as varicella-zoster virus, causes shingles. Once a chickenpox episode terminates, the virus remains dormant in a nerve tissue near the spinal cord and can relapse as shingles after several years. Read on to know more about the various myths surrounding the condition.
If you’ve already had shingles once, the likeliness of it occurring again is unusual. But, there have been rare cases when it has resurfaced a second or even third time. Shingles’ reappearance mainly depends on the body’s immunity level. You won’t contract the condition immediately after an episode but there have been cases when the condition has reared its ugly head after a few years. One of the main triggers of recurrence is when the patient suffers from severe pain for more than 30 days while the condition was transient. This is known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PNH). Also, the chances of reoccurrence is more likely if you are a woman, if you had it when you were over 50 for the first time, or if your immune system is weak from taking medication for conditions like leukemia or HIV.
Shingles is more common among the elderly because old folks who have not got their chicken pox vaccination or who have not had the disease earlier in their lives are more prone to developing the condition. This happens only because the older ones gets, the weaker their immune systems become. Shingles can hit anyone who has a weak immune system especially young adults and children who have had the chicken pox previously and are currently undergoing some kind of severe disease or ingesting medicines that can affect the immune system.
Shingles won’t be transferred from a patient to another person so long as the second person has had chicken pox before. The varicella zoster virus that causes shingles can spread through the rash blister fluid to a person who has never contracted chicken pox previously in his life. When this happens, the person who contracts the virus won’t get shingles, but will develop chicken pox. A patient with shingles is not infectious before the blisters form and after the rash has been crusted. However, the contagious period is during the active shingles phase when the blisters are filled with fluid. If you have shingles, it is advisable that you keep the rash covered at all times and refrain from touching it. Washing your hands at regular intervals and keeping away from people who haven’t had chicken pox, along with infant children and folks with a weak immune system is recommended.
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