Even though shingles is a very common condition, it is typically misunderstood. This skin infection tends to be perceived as a minor annoyance and ignored. However, if left untreated, shingles can cause severe damage and may permanently harm your body. Because of this, taking steps to prevent shingles from developing in the first place is a great way to ensure your skin stays healthy for years to come.
What Causes Shingles?
Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After the body recovers from chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in the body and may or may not reactivate as shingles later in life.
Shingles can appear on the body in multiple ways. It typically lies a thin band on one side of the torso (from back to midline in the front), as a candy cane like stripe on one of the extremities, or involving one side of the face if divided into thirds. It can range from red bumps or clusters of bumps to blisters which are typically painful but can be itchy.
Oftentimes, shingles can present itself for seemingly no reason at all. However, those who have weakened immune systems, have been sick, recently traumatized or under a lot of stress are the most susceptible to a shingles outbreak. While those over the age of 50 are the most common group to have this skin condition, younger people can still develop and suffer from shingles.
Ultimately, the best way to prevent shingles is to get vaccinated. In fact, the Center for Disease Control recommends that those over the age of 50 receive the shingles vaccine.
Getting vaccinated is an important consideration no matter your history with chickenpox and shingles. Even if you have had shingles before, receiving the vaccine can significantly lower your chances of getting shingles again and minimize the severity of the virus if you do develop it.
If you do develop shingles, it is important that you seek treatment immediately within the first three days of onset. If left untreated, shingles can cause postherpetic neuralgia, a painful condition that causes a long-term burning sensation that affects the nerves and skin.
Taking the proper preventative steps to curb shingles is highly recommended. If you are interested in learning more about the shingles vaccination or think you might have the condition, contact Dermatology Associates of Atlanta today. Additionally, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn more about our dermatology and cosmetic services.