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Varicella Zoster Virus

Many people may not be familiar with the medical term of varicella zoster virus, but many are familiar with its common name of shingles. The shingles virus derives from the chickenpox. If you had a history of chickenpox chances are the varicella zoster virus (shingles virus) is already in your immune system. The bacteria from the chickenpox virus can remain in your system for years in a dormant state. Researchers are still learning about the virus and how it is able to remain in the immune system for years after chickenpox.

Older adults are common victims of shingles. One theory as to why it is in the immune system for so long is the fact that the immune system develops lower immunity abilities as a person gets older. Some people with weak immune systems are likely to catch shingles. The virus causes sores, rashes and blisters on a person’s skin. These sores can be painful and extremely uncomfortable in some cases. Even if you are not immune to the chickenpox there is a chance you can catch shingles from someone that is contagious. Most cases you catch it from the infected person when you come in contact with their rash or open skin sore.

Certain groups of people are known to have higher risk of developing shingles. This includes people over 50 years of age, those suffering from diseases that make immune system weak, patients going through cancer treatment and patients prescribed for certain medications. The shingles virus commonly gives people skin rashes and irritation, but there are other symptoms you can experience such as vision loss when it occurs around the eye area. A person can experience ongoing pain long after skin blisters have healed. Some even have issues with their nerves and have problems being able to hear or maintain their balance.

The shingles virus can be treated without assistance of a doctor in mild cases. When infected skin areas become more than what you can deal with, you may need to consider visiting your doctor. It is important to record your systems and keep track of your progress. The length of time shingles can last varies. Some people have it for days others can have it for weeks. Take note of your daily activities to ensure what you are doing doesn’t aggravate symptoms further. There are home remedies you can try to help treat your skin. Your doctor can also prescribe medicine to reduce inflammation.


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