“Blistering sores so painful, I can’t even wear a shirt because it rubs against the affected area on my chest and midriff” is how my uncle described his recent case of shingles. Caused by the same virus as the chickenpox, shingles is a condition that typically affects older adults and involves a rash or blisters on the skin.
According to the CDC, symptoms of shingles often start with a tingling or itchy feeling under the skin, fever, chills and a headache. Then, a rash may appear around the waistline, face or body trunk. This rash eventually turns into painful, fluid-filled blisters that may last a few days or weeks depending upon your immune system. Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for developing shingles. Your risk, however, increases as with age – about half of all cases of shingles occur in adults over age 60 years.
My uncle explained that his treatment included an antiviral drug, pain killers and time. The antiviral drug doesn’t cure the shingles, but it can help to reduce the severity of the disease if taken in a timely manner. There is no cure for shingles, but you can prevent shingles by getting vaccinated. A vaccine for shingles is available for people ages 60 or older.
If you have questions about shingles, be sure to talk with your primary care doctor. They can tell you if you qualify for the vaccine.