The virus that causes chickenpox is the same one responsible for causing shingles. Shingles often affects older adults, particularly those with weakened immune systems, or who are more likely to become injured, or those who might be taking medications that might encourage the virus to take hold of the body.
What Causes Shingles?
As we have previously mentioned, shingles stems from the same virus that causes chickenpox. That virus lies dormant in the nerve roots of your body. The chickenpox virus remains in one’s body for the rest of a person’s life. For many people, that virus stays dormant. Shingles, on the other hand, develops because the virus has been triggered or, “reawakened.”
How Long Are Shingles Contagious?
Because shingles is considered a virus, it does not mean that it is contagious; however, it is possible for someone who has never had chickenpox before or has never received a vaccine to fight against chickenpox, to catch shingles from another person.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Shingles?
Shingles does not occur suddenly; rather, it is a gradual process that occurs in several different stages. You might first experience a headache and fever, and then pain on a small part of your body, or just on one side of your body.
Some of the additional signs and symptoms of shingles might include:
- Rashes that form a few days after the pain begins
- Sensitivity to light, sound, or touch
- Blisters and itchiness
- Numbness, tingling, or burning
Some groups of people may be more susceptible to developing shingles, depending on their current state of health or having had a history of chickenpox earlier in life.
Other risk factors might include the following:
- Being over the age of 50
- Experiencing trauma or stressful life events
- Being treated for cancer or currently battling cancer
- Taking medications that are known to weaken the immune system
- Having a pre-existing medical condition that weakens the immune system, such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS
Do I Need to See a Doctor for Shingles?
If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of shingles, getting medical attention as quickly as possible should be your priority. Early diagnosis and treatment can help relieve some of the pain you are experiencing as well as prevent any further complications from shingles that might evolve into more serious or life-threatening conditions.
Contact Primary Care Associates of Texas Today
Prolonging treatment for shingles can lead to severe complications, from conditions ranging from permanent eye damage due to rashes located near the eye, to a condition called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a form of injury to the nerves. We urge you to contact our center as soon as possible to get the treatment you need for shingles.
Contact us online or call (817) 383-2266 to schedule your appointment!