What you need to know about the Shingles virus

Shingles can be treated with antiviral medicines

(CNN) – Many people who had chicken pox think they won’t get it again. That’s true, but the virus that causes it can come back as Shingles.

“Shingles basically is the reactivation of chickenpox virus. We get the disease, we recover from the rash and then typically we’ll never get chickenpox again, however it’s that same virus that causes chickenpox that later on in life can appear as Shingles.”

It’s called the Varicella Zoster virus.

“The older patients seem to get Shingles more often than the younger patients. As we get older our immunity is not as good as when we’re young. The symptoms of shingles would be typically a rash on one side of your body. You know, lots of different round areas that are raised with maybe even fluid in them which we call blisters or vesicles and the later on it will scab over. Some patients may not have a rash initially; they may just have the tingling, the sensation that something is wrong with one side of your body.”

Shingles can be treated with antiviral medicines, but he recommends that people age 55 and over get the Shingles vaccine to reduce their risk of developing the disease.

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