An acute infection caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same virus as causes chickenpox. Shingles is most common after the age of 50 and the risk rises with advancing age. Shingles occurs because of exposure to chickenpox or reactivation of the herpes zoster virus. The virus remains latent (dormant) in nerve roots for many years following chickenpox.
Shingles is an extraordinarily painful condition that involves inflammation of sensory nerves. It causes numbness, itching or pain followed by the appearance of clusters of little blisters in a strip pattern on one side of the body. The pain can persist for weeks, months or years after the rash heals and is then known as post-herpetic neuralgia.
People with shingles are contagious to persons who have not had chickenpox and can catch chickenpox from close contact with a person who has shingles. The Herpes zoster vaccine is effective in preventing or reducing the symptoms of shingles, and it is recommended for people 60 years and older. Treatment includes antiviral medication and pain medication.
The term shingles has nothing to do with a shingle on a roof or the small signboard outside the office of a doctor but is derived from the Latin cingulum meaning girdle, the idea being that shingles often girdles part of the body.
See also shingles pain and postherpetic neuralgia.
- Shingles pain
Localized pain in the area of involvement of shingles. When such pain persists beyond one month it is referred to as postherpetic neuralgia. The most common complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia. This occurs when the pain associated with shingles persists beyond one month, even after the rash is gone. The pain can be severe […]
- Shock syndrome, dengue
A syndrome due to the dengue virus that tends to affect children under 10, causing abdominal pain, hemorrhage (bleeding) and circulatory collapse (shock). Known also as dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), it starts abruptly with high continuous fever and headache plus respiratory and intestinal symptoms with sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Shock occurs […]
What caused your fever? • Submit » Although, if the fever is accompanied by any other troubling symptoms, you may need to see your doctor to be certain. As fevers range to 104 F and above, however, there can be unwanted consequences, particularly for children. These can include delirium and convulsions. Learn when to call […]
- Shock, anaphylactic
A life-threatening allergic reaction characterized by a swelling of body tissues including the throat, difficulty in breathing, and a sudden fall in blood pressure.
- Shock, cardiogenic
Shock due to low blood output by the heart, most often seen in conjunction with heart failure or heart attack (myocardial infarction). In cardiogenic shock, the heart fails to pump blood effectively. For example, a heart attack (myocardial infarction) can cause an abnormal, ineffectual heartbeat (arrhythmia) with very slow, rapid, or irregular contractions of the […]