Back to home July 2012
Lee Physician Group - Family Medicine
Shingles – Chickenpox Part II
“It was so painful,” she says. “You go nuts because the blisters are itchy.” Shingles often begin with itching, burning, pain or tingling in small sections of the body. Within a day or two, a rash of blisters appears in a band across the chest and back, or even around the eyes, neck or face. Some people also experience fever, fatigue or headache.
“Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox,” explains Rodolfo Perez-Gallardo, M.D., a family medicine physician and Phyllis’s doctor. “After someone has chickenpox, the virus sometimes hides out, asleep in the body, until years later, when it ‘wakes up’ and causes shingles.”
Though shingles can affect people of all ages, it most commonly affects people age 50 and older. Other risk factors include certain diseases that weaken the immune system, cancer treatments and prolonged use of some medications, like steroids.
“We aren’t sure exactly why the virus wakes up and causes shingles, but we can reduce the chances of this reappearance with the shingles vaccine,” Dr. Perez-Gallardo says. “The vaccine can also make the symptoms of shingles milder if they do occur. Most people age 60 and older should get the vaccine.”
Phyllis had heard about the shingles vaccine, but didn’t get it. “Once I got shingles, I wished I would have gotten the injection,” she says.
Dr. Perez-Gallardo says that early diagnosis and prompt treatment can help speed recovery. “The doctor prescribed a salve that helped with the itching,” Phyllis adds. “You are tired and your body is weak when you have shingles. You are more susceptible to other illness, too, so you must rest to get better. That’s what I did.”
“Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox,” explains Rodolfo Perez-Gallardo, M.D.
Rodolfo Perez-Gallardo, M.D.
Lee Physician Group
5225 Clayton Court
Fort Myers, FL 33907