Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus that has been present in your body since childhood. The disease usually appears when some sort of stress occurs. The person may be run down or stressed psychologically.
The disease can appear anywhere on the body. It occurs in only one side of the body. The first symptom is usually pain. Days later groups of blisters appear and last for about 3 weeks.
The disease will disappear without treatment but may clear up faster with pills such as Valtrex.
Pain may occur and then last for months or years after the disease. This is the feared complication of shingles.
Zostavax is a vaccine for preventing shingles.
This 42-year-old man complained of neck pain for one week. The doctors could not find a source of the pain. Days later groups of blisters appeared and the diagnosis of shingles was made. He was treated with Valtrex for 10 days and the blisters and pain disappeared.
The chance of developing long-term pain increases in older patients.