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  Oct 11, 2018

What is Shingles?

Shingles is a medically termed herpes zoster. The name derives from the Latin term for belt. This is because Shingles generally results in a belt shaped rash. (6)

Shingles is characterized by this blistering and severely painful rash that occurs due to the varicella-zoster virus or the virus responsible for chickenpox.

Once an individual gets chickenpox, the virus remains inactive or dormant within certain nerves in the body. Years later this virus may reactivate to lead to Shingles or herpes zoster. This reactivation attack is usually not repeated.

Causes of Shingles

Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus which caused chicken pox in the patient, usually many years earlier.

The virus passes down a nerve to the skin where it causes the symptomatic blistering rash.

It is not known why exactly why the viral reactivation is triggered, although it has been associated with several different bodily events, mainly involving a weakened immune system. (4)

When does Shingles occur?

Shingles occur when there is a lowering in the immunity or the individual. This could be due to:

  • old age
  • having chicken pox as an infant
  • weakened immune system due to medicines li