twitter google

Causes of Shingles

RM Shingles


Shingles is a virus that results in rashes, blisters, and a fever for days. It can be recovered from at home in most cases, and is very similar to suffering through the chicken pox you may have had as a child. It affects one in every three adults, so odds are if you don’t develop shingles as a grown up, you’ll know someone who has.

Causes of shingles are pretty one sided- it’s mostly caused by the Varicella-Zoster virus that is found within the chicken pox illness. If you have developed chicken pox as a child, the virus lives inside you for years upon years until it decides to flare up. Once it does, the virus causes a rash and a fever that lasts anywhere from a one to a few weeks. The virus is one of many forms within the herpes virus family. Some other common forms of herpes that are easily recognizable to others are when someone develops a cold sore, or genital herpes. To avoid confusion with those forms, shingles is referred to as the “herpes zoster” of illnesses.

The virus can also be passed to you, especially for those that are not vaccinated or have never had the chicken pox. Vaccination is never a 100% certainty to protect you from developing illnesses, but it’s pretty darn close to keeping you clear of obtaining diseases. You can still get vaccinated for this if you haven’t had the chicken pox, or if you wish to add a level of protection. Most children currently are given the chicken pox vaccination, and it must be doing something as hardly any kids develop chicken pox in middle class America anymore. There used to be chicken pox parties where parents would literally encourage their kids to obtain the illness from another child at a party to get it over with. This type of thing hardly ever happens anymore as some parents either went with the vaccination route to avoid their children getting it, or they were told of possible dangers of chicken pox and didn’t want their kids to ever have the illness.

If you already have shingles beware of those around you that you can possibly infect as you are contagious. Many elderly citizens can become very ill if they contract shingles, as well as pregnant women, infants, women that are nursing, and anyone with a decreased immunity issue. Stay home if you have it, and try to avoid spreading it by keeping it to yourself until you have recovered.