THE RISK OF GETTING SHINGLES INCREASES AS YOU AGE
JUNE 5, 2019 @ 5.10PM
Half of all shingles cases are adults age 60 and above.
Dato’ Dr Rajbans Singh consultant physician and geriatrician at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur explained that shingles is caused by chicken pox virus - varicella-zoster virus (VZV).
“Once you’ve recovered from chickenpox, the virus continues to live in some of your nerve cells. As we age, the immune system is lower, cancer, diabetes, auto-immune disease, medication such as steroids or even stress causes a strain on the body and weakens the immune system. This results in the virus getting re-activated, resurfacing as a rash just like the one during chicken pox.
“Classical symptoms of shingles are rash on the face, neck or on the nerve roots. It starts of as severe pain as some patients may not display any rash in the beginning.
Other symptoms include burning, tingling or numbness of the skin, feeling sick—chills, fever, stomach upset or headache, fluid-filled blisters and skin that is sensitive to touch.
Predominantly, patients would see a doctor only when they have severe pain and they might be diagnosed for some other illness as the rash might surface three to four days later.
Getting an early diagnosis and starting treatment fast is essential to avoid Postherpetic neuralgia – the burning pain that lasts long after the rash and blisters of shingles disappear.
Rajbans also revealed that a new vaccine – ZOSTAVAX - helps reduce the risk of contracting shingles for older adults.
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