Shingles is a disease that causes a painful, itchy rash. While this rash can appear any where on the body, it is typically confined to only one side of the body. Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus, which “reactivates” to cause the disease.You cannot get shingles unless you have had chickenpox.
Early symptoms may include flu-like symptoms, headaches and light sensitivity. Itching, tingling and pain may occur before a rash appears. Early treatment is vital to reduce pain and complications associated with shingles, so see a doctor as soon as possible if you have these symptoms and you have had chicken pox. Those at higher risk for developing shingles are those over age 50, those with weakened immune systems, or those who have cancer or are receiving treatment for cancer.
Getting the shingles vaccine does not entirely negate the chance of getting shingles, but it does help in reducing the severity of the outbreak, as well as the potential of post herpetic pain.
Read more about Shingles in our article, “Shingles 101: Are you at risk?“