RadioMD: Staying Well

Are You at Risk for Shingles?

December 9, 20139 min
One in three Americans is at risk for shingles, with over one million cases diagnosed each year. What should you do if you develop this painful condition?If you've got a painful, blistered, itchy rash that wraps along either the right or left side of your torso, you might have shingles.Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection (varicella-zoster virus) causing a painful inflammation of the nerve ganglia that erupts the skin around the middle part of your body. This is the same virus that causes chicken pox.If you've already had chicken pox, you're not safe. In fact, the virus remains in your body. The risk of a shingles outbreak increases as you age. Shingles causes a burning and painful sensation, and can last up to 30 days.There is no cure for shingles; but some treatments can help temporarily relieve some of your pain. For example, taking an oatmeal bath, using calamine lotion and applying cold wet compresses can be effective.Special guest, Dr. Anne Oaklander, shares everything you need to know about shingles.

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