One in three suffer Shingles

A THOUSAND times more painful than a cut on your hand and causing nerve damage if left untreated, Shingles has been around for centuries with the blisters often mistaken for small pox or leprosy.

Thankfully these days modern medicine knows better and can treat the disease effectively with anti-virals and those eligible including if aged over 65, can have a preventative vaccine to reduce the risk of an outbreak which one in three people will develop during their lifetime.
However new research commissioned ahead of Shingles Awareness Week (February 26 to March 3), reveals most Australians aged 50-79, have limited understanding of the disease.
Nearly all adults over the age of 50 carry the inactive virus (varicella zoster virus) that causes Shingles from a previous chickenpox infection.
Yagoona Family Practice’s Dr Olataga Alofivae-Doorbinnia said most people underestimated or didn’t know their risk of developing Shingles – or considered it be relatively harmless.
“It is important to note that Shingles cannot be transmitted directly from someone with Shingles or chickenpox,” she said.
“While the same virus is responsible for both diseases, the initial infection leads to chickenpox and the virus remains dormant until reactivation later, causing Shingles.
“If you are unsure if you’ve had chicken pox and require a Shingles vaccine, a simple blood test can determine if you have had or not.”
She said there were at least a couple of people presenting to her clinic every month with Shingles.
“That’s just at our clinic,” she said.
“Shingles lies dormant but can be triggered if you are tired, rundown or sick; Shingles may start off with a fever, cough and then a tingly feeling on your skin before a rash appears.
“The painful red lumps can become ulcerated, leaving sufferers in a debilitated state where they can’t work or sleep so it’s important to discuss your risk of developing Shingles with your GP as soon as possible.”
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