Shingles is a condition that occurs in some people who have had Chickenpox. Both of these conditions are caused by the Varicella Zoster virus (VZV). After a Chickenpox infection, the virus does not go away. Instead, it travels from the skin via nerves to a bundle of nerve tissue near the spine. There the virus remains inactive and is asymptomatic until circumstances cause the virus to be reactivated. Shingles is very common, but not everyone who has had Chickenpox gets it. You are at increased risk of getting Shingles if your immune system is suppressed (lowered). The primary symptom of Shingles is a painful skin rash. Typically, it will be located on one side of the body in a linear distribution or on the face. The rash may be preceded by tingling, itching, or pain, followed by blisters that scab over within a few days then disappear. Antiviral medication may be taken early in the course of the illness to reduce its length and severity. Treatment can also include pain medication and remedies such as Calamine lotion to alleviate the itching.
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