Shingles: Is It Contagious and Is It Curable?
Are shingles contagious and are they curable? Well, shingles, also known as Herpes Zoster is a viral infection commonly found in someone who has previously had the chickenpox. Exceptionally, but also, other people vulnerable to contracting this virus include someone under long periods of stress, a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy, an organ transplant recipient and someone with an immune disorder such as HIV/AIDS. The reason for vulnerability by an organ transplant patient is that they receive anti-rejection medications which suppress the immune system in order to prevent the new transplanted organ from being rejected by the body.
How does it start?
Shingles may start out as a low-grade fever or flu-like symptoms. The fever can be followed by pain or itchy areas on the skin, then a red rash appears within five days. The rash turns into painful blisters that begin to leak a clear fluid that eventually crust over then heals.
Can I Catch Shingles?
Contrary to popular belief, it is not actually Shingles that is contagious. In fact, it is the virus that causes it. Both chickenpox and Shingles are caused by the same virus, the Varicella Zoster virus. In truth, anyone having previously had the chickenpox can indeed contract Shingles; however, this virus is most common in people age sixty or older.
The Virus Attacks the Immune System
A main reason the virus kicks back up again is due to emotional stress, which when prolonged will have an effect on the immune system, thus reactivating a virus that has been dormant in the body for years, resulting in a shingles infection. Who can catch it? Pregnant women are at a high risk for the Shingles virus. They should avoid all contact with anyone showing symptoms of having the active virus. If the virus is passed on to her, she runs the risk of contracting the chickenpox as well as her baby being born with the chickenpox. People who have immunity to it or are in good health have no risk of contracting the Zoster virus. In addition, those who have previously had the chickenpox or those who have been vaccinated are not at risk either.
How to Prevent Shingles
To prevent infection, it is advised to get vaccinated. Presently, Zostavax has been approved for our senior population. Zostavax is a one-time chickenpox booster injection and helps to prevent getting shingles and its complications. It is advised to get the chickenpox vaccination if you have never had one, or if you have never had chickenpox before. As always, it is imperative that you contact a healthcare provider immediately if you believe you or someone you know is showing symptoms of shingles or chickenpox. Unfortunately, the older you are, the more painful both these viruses can be. More Information: Barb Hicks is a licensed registered nurse and established writer who loves to share her experience and knowledge. She has an online classroom at Clivir.com where she provides more articles on What Is Shingles and Shingles Pain Corticosteroids.
And then there is a cure for shingles found in Ireland
Yes, this will be a surprise but worth informing you of. There is a cure for shingles in Ireland, which is free and works! The problem with your immune system under attack is that your normal defence is no longer either available to you or adequate for the purpose. You need to ask someone healthy to pinprick their finger and you then obtain their blood which you should simply smear over the shingles infection. If their blood has the antibodies – which can usually be expected – then they will kick-start your immune system into a real defence and beat the shingles.