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What You Don’t Know About Shingles Can Hurt You

 

I currently have the Shingles. Lucky me.

I’ve been seeing increased commercials on Shingles and it seems like everywhere I go someone is talking about them, so I’m blaming all of that on me getting the Shingles. No, actually, we are just coming off a very serious 10 day case of the flu out our house. (Yes, all of us.) So, with my immune system compromised, the shingles thought it would be a good time to visit and BAM! here they are.

Shingles can be serious, so it’s important that you educate yourself about them for the safety of you and your family.

What Are Shingles?

Shingles are actually herpes zoster and caused by varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox.

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Who Can Get Shingles?

Anyone who has had the chicken pox can get shingles because the virus lies dormant in your system after you have the chicken pox.

Those who are most susceptible to the flare up are people older than 60 or those who have a weakened immune system due to medical treatment or illness.

How Do Shingles Start?

This is the scary part because many people don’t realize that they have shingles when they first start, mistaking it as a bug bite or something else.

Shingles start as a burning or tingling, followed by a red mark or blister. Mine actually started as a long red welt on my side and I thought our new puppy had accidentally scratched me and it was flaring up from that. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized it was more as the red welt got longer and I started to get small blisters around it.

Are Shingles Contagious?

Yes. If you’re around people who have not had chicken pox, they can get the chicken pox from your shingles. You should also be careful around elderly people, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.

Are Shingles Painful?

Yes, I told someone yesterday that shingles feel like someone is holding a hot branding iron against your skin and you can’t get away from it. It burns and aches. It hurts when people hug you and when clothes rub against it. In short, it’s miserable.

Why It’s Important to Get Treated Immediately

Shingles have a very small window–a couple of days–that you can get them treated before it’s too late. At the beginning of the third day, the doctor told me I was already on the very end of the treatment window.  So, if you have symptoms that even resemble shingles, get it checked out immediately. The shingles are very painful and last about three weeks, with some pain even lingering for months after, so you want to be able to get as much treatment as early as possible.

 

Image: James Heilman, MD (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Along with being a contributor to PrimeParentsClub.com, Jacqueline Wilson is: Appalachia Advocate~Supporter of Women~Writer~Accidental Pit Bull Advocate. Founder and executive director of Monkey Do Project and co-author of 50 Shades of Frayed: What Happens When 'I Do' Becomes 'Not Tonight': A Humorous Mompilation.