Who Can Develop Shingles?
Both men and women can develop shingles during their lifetime. The causes of shingles are well understood, and studies have found that people with medical conditions that compromise the immune system are at higher risk of getting shingles. The risk of shingles also increases with age.
Individuals who have had chickenpox are also likely to develop shingles as the virus is already within their body.
Causes of Shingles
Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus doesn’t go away. Instead, it stays in the body in a dormant state. This inactive virus may reactivate years later, causing shingles.
When someone has the shingles virus within them, it can stay dormant for decades or their entire life. More commonly, the person will develop shingles at some point. Triggers such as stress and a weakened immune system can cause the dormant varicella zoster virus to become active and appear as shingles.
Treatment Options for Shingles
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent or cure shingles. The best defense is the varicella zoster vaccination which provides protection. Adults over the age of 50 are recommended to get this vaccination as it can prevent shingles from becoming active.
There are several antiviral medications that have been shown to shorten the length and severity of the shingles outbreak. These medications are most effective if started soon after symptom onset, making it especially important to seek medical treatment if you have had chickenpox or develop new symptoms. Be vigilant for new skin sensitivity, pain, tingling, burning, or numbness since these are the common symptoms prior to the shingles rash developing.
Leave your skincare to the experts. Shingles is an uncomfortable and frustrating condition to experience regardless of your age. This condition may come with some serious medical complications that make professional care an important part of recovering from shingles. If you would like to experience premier dermatological care to achieve beautiful and healthy skin, please schedule your appointment with Dr. Ip today.