Could You Catch The Shingles?

What is shingles? You may have seen ads for a vaccine against the shingles.  Shingles is an infectious disease that awakens from those that have had the chickenpox probably as a child. It can be spread to other people who have NOT had the chickenpox. It is most commonly found in older adults and those in nursing homes.

elderly and shingles

Shingles affects the elderly the most

Shingles can cause a lot of pain and blisters from a rash.  Shingles is medically called Herpes Zoster and is not related to the sexually transmitted herpes.  After an individual has had the chickenpox, the virus lives dormant in the nervous system and is never fully cleared from the body. Under certain instances, such as emotional stress, immune deficiency, or with cancer, the chickenpox virus reactivates and causes shingles. In most cases of shingles, however, a cause for the reactivation of the virus is never found. Anyone who has ever had chickenpox is at risk for the development of shingles, although it occurs most commonly in people over the age of 60. It has been estimated that there are up to 1,000,000 cases of shingles occur each year in the U.S.

What type of symptoms are associated with the Shingles?

1) Burning Pain

2) Sensitive Skin

3) Small Blisters  – which will pop and ooze

4) Infection of Blisters can occur

5) Loss of Vision if the rash is on the face – definitely see your doctor if a rash is on your face

6) The Nervous System in rare causes can also be affected causing debilitating pain

Most treatments for shingles will consist of steroids and antiviral medications which should be started within 2 days of the symptoms.

It is contagious to those who have not had the chicken pox. Precautions must be taken not to spread this disease as chickenpox is a much more serious disease in an adult than in a child.   Nursing homes and hospitals should take all precautions when dealing with a patient suffering from the shingles. One should take precautions on airborne transmission too. Patients with shingles should not be in same room as cancer patients or others with compromised immune systems.  When the lesions are crusted over usually in 7-10 days is when the patient is no longer contagious.

There is a vaccine now available for people over the age of 60 called Zostavax.  The CDC recommends anyone over the age of 60 to receive this vaccine against Shingles. It can be taken as early as age 50. It is given as a single shot dose. (It does not protect everyone.)


About hightechnologyscrubs

I own and operate an online store that specializes in nursing scrubs, nursing uniforms, lab coats and clogs. The website includes New Balance, Gelscrubs, Jockey, Cherokee, Trend, White Swan, and the product line I am most proud of is a protecting fluid repelling scrub line from Vestex.
This entry was posted in health, Health Care, infectious disease and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Could You Catch The Shingles?

  1. Thanks for this. My friend, a quadriplegic in a nursing home, got shingles and it went undetected for weeks even though they bathed him. He had a huge rash and scars from the blisters. He had no pain because he can’t feel his limbs. I never touched the oozing matter but almost got it myself since I had chickenpox as a child. They put me on prednisone to avoid it, but I couldn’t go near him while on the meds. Please let people know that prednisone compromises the immune system and can make one more susceptible to having shingles if they come in contact with it while on prednisone.

  2. the blisters and rashes also look like to that of chickenpox. i had rashes and a doctor asked me if had chickenpox. i said yes and he said it may be herpes zoster. then i went to a dermatologist who said it was just an allergic reaction to an insect-bite which i got from camping

  3. Thanks for the link Lisa. From what I’ve seen, looks like I have a mild case. I’m on meds for it that they say, won’t cure it, but will speed up the healing. The meds give me a headache. Meh, I’ll survive 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s