Monday, March 2, 2009


Posted by Terry McNichols
A good friend of mine has recently come down with shingles. She is 57 years old and is in a very high stress work situation, working for a bank that has recently gone under. Her job at this point is to help others find new employment, and the task is daunting. To now add to her troubles, she has a horrendous case of shingles.

According to WebMD:

Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox starts up again in your body. After you get better from chickenpox, the virus "sleeps" (is dormant) in your nerve roots. In some people, it stays dormant forever. In others, the virus "wakes up" when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune system. It is not clear why this happens. But after the virus becomes active again, it can only cause shingles, not chickenpox.

You can't catch shingles from someone else who has shingles....While you have shingles, you can spread chickenpox to people who have never had chickenpox.

I will not be posting any medical pictures of shingles, but you can find several, as well as a lot more information, on the WebMD site. (Or click on this picture for a yukky slide show.)
I mentioned to my friend that I had recently had the shingles vaccine. She did not know that such a vaccine was available. The shingles vaccine is newly available and is known as Zostavax and is recommended for adults 60 and older, whether or not they've had shingles before. There is information about the vaccine from the Center for Disease Control. The vaccine has only been tested in people over 60 years of age at this point. I heard about it and was interested because both my mother and my sister have had painful bouts of shingles. There are pros and cons for any type of vaccine, of course, but the pain and suffering that occurs from a case of shingles is a good reason to consider getting the vaccine.

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