Healthy Living

2017

Goldsboro News-Argus - Healthy Living

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B y S T E V E H E R RI N G s herri ng @ ne wsarg us.co m S hi ngles mig ht so u nd like a f u n ny na me for a disease, b ut t he pai n it ca n ca use t he patie nt is a nyt hi ng b ut f u n ny. T he disease is a n o utbreak of t he vir us herpes zoster — t he sa me vir us t hat ca uses c hicke n pox. "If yo u have ever had t he c hicke n pox, or t he c hicke n pox vacci ne, yo u ca n have a n o utbreak of s hi ngles," said Step he n Fairc hild, M P A S, P A- C at Mo u nt Olive Fa mily Medici ne Ce nter. S hi ngles is c haracterized by a b ur ni ng or ti ngli ng se nsatio n. T his is follo wed by a ras h t hat t ur ns i nto blisters. T hese are us ually pai nf ul, he said. T his ras h us ually lasts abo ut 14 days, b ut may last lo nger. " S hi ngles is co ntagio us fro m t he ti me t he ti ngli ng starts u ntil t he blisters are scabbed over," Fairc hild said. "If so meo ne has not bee n i m m u- nized agai nst c hicke n pox or has never had c hicke n pox, t hey ca n catc h t he vir us a nd have a case of t he c hicke n pox. " T his is especially co ncer ni ng if a preg na nt lady has never had t he c hicke n pox or vacci ne. T his ca n i ncrease t he risk of birt h defects i n t he baby. " Also, if so meo ne's i m m u nity agai nst t he zoster vir us has wor n off, bei ng aro u nd so meo ne wit h s hi ngles, may activate t he vir us a nd ca use s hi ngles to occ ur." T he ras h of s hi ngles us ually fol- lo ws o ne nerve a nd ca n occ ur a ny- w here o n t he body, Fairclot h said. It us ually o nly occ urs o n o ne side of t he body — t he c haracteristic t hat leads to t he na mes for t his co n- ditio n. T he Greek word zoster mea ns belt-like, w hic h is t he appeara nce of t he ras h w he n it occ urs o n t he tr u nk, Fairclot h said. S hi ngles co mes fro m t he Lati n word ci ng ul us, w hic h mea ns t he sa me t hi ng, he said. " Si nce s hi ngle is a vir us, we have not yet fo u nd a c ure for it," Fairclot h said. " Ho wever, t here are so me a ntiviral me dici nes t hat if ta ke n early e no ug h, wit hi n 72 ho urs of a n o utbrea k, ca n s horte n t he co urse a n d decrease t he severity of t he o utbrea k." T he na mes of t hese medici nes are acyclovir, fa mcyclovir a nd valacy- clovir. T here have bee n st udies t hat s ho w t hat starti ng t hese medici nes ca n help preve nt lo ng-ter m nerve pai n t hat ca n be ca used by t he s hi ngles, he said. T his type of nerve pai n is called post- her- petic ne uralgia. If t his devel- ops, a perso n s ho uld co ntact his or her doctor abo ut pote ntial treat me nts, Fairclot h said. "I n t he case of s hi ngles, t he best treat me nt is to try a nd avoid it i n t he first place," he said. " T he s hi n- gles vacci ne is available, a nd is rec- o m me nded for a nyo ne over 60 years old. Besides post- herpetic ne uralgia, ot her co mplicatio ns ca n occ ur fro m getti ng t he s hi ngles. If t he s hi ngles occ urs aro u nd t he eye, t here is a pote ntial for bli nd- ness. Also, si nce t here are us ually ope n sores, ot her i nfectio ns ca n occ ur. For f urt her i nfor matio n a nd epi- de miology of herpes zoster, t he Ce nters for Disease Co ntrol has good i nfor matio n, Fairclot h said. Al most o ne o ut of every t hree peo- ple i n t he co u ntry will develop s hi n- gles, accordi ng to t he C D C. Eve n c hildre n ca n develop t he dis- ease. Ho wever, t he risk i ncreases as a perso n ages. Abo ut half of t he cases occ ur i n me n a nd wo me n age 60 or older, accordi ng to t he C D C. T here are a n esti mated o ne mil- lio n cases a n n ually. A perso n nor mally s uffers o nly o ne o utbreak i n t heir lifeti me, alt ho ug h a a seco nd or t hird o ut- break is possible. 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