Shingles facts, suggestions and information about Shingles prevention, treatment and symptom relief

Shingles is a painful condition, and a Shingles outbreak can occur to you at any time, if you've had chickenpox in the past. Learn more about this debilitating illness, what you can do to prevent a Shingles outbreak and treatments for easing the pain and discomfort of a Shingles outbreak.

How Did I Get Shingles?

You don't "get" Shingles, like you would "get" the common cold. And you don't get Shingles by being near someone who has Shingles or who has had Shingles in the past. Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus, so if you have ever had chickenpox or been vaccinated against chickenpox, the chickenpox virus is in your body and so there is a possibility that you will have a Shingles outbreak at some point in your life. Many individuals will never come down with Shingles, even though they have had chickenpox in the past. There is some disagreement in the Medical community, about what actually triggers a Shingles outbreak. But research has shown that the older you are (i.e., over 60) the more likely you are to have a Shingles outbreak. In addition, it appears that a Shingles outbreak is likely to occur when the patient's immune system has become compromised (e.g., the patient has HIV, is taking chemotherapy drugs, is taking corticosteroid drugs to fight arthritis or lupus, etc.), or the patient has experienced an extremely stressful situation. Although age is a predominant factor in predicting the likelihood that an individual who has had chickenpox will have a Shingles outbreak, research seems to indicate that exposure to children with chickenpox can boost the adult patient's immunity and thereby postpone or suppress the occurrence of a Shingles outbreak. Study results have indicated that if a patient's household includes children, they are statistically less likely to have a Shingles outbreak.

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