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Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it that causes skin rash. The infection usually affects only a certain part of the body and in general it only occurs to people over 50 years of age.


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What are the causes and symptoms of shingles?

Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus (varicella zoster virus). Once a person has had chicken pox during childhood, the virus stays (inactive) in the body. Although not entirely sure, the reactivation of the virus is linked to a lower immune system. When reactivated, the virus could flare up and affect the nerve endings.
The symptoms of shingles start with fever symptoms and move to pain in a certain area. This pain can be constant, dull or a burning sensation. Eventually the rash will show up on a certain part of the body and will develop into itchy blisters similar to chickenpox.

How can shingles be treated?

Although there is no medication for shingles, medication can help ease your symptoms. Wearing loose fitting clothing and keeping the rash clean and dry will help you relieve the symptoms. Medication such as antiviral tablets will not kill the virus but will stop it from multiplying. Usually after a period between two and four weeks the rash will be gone.

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