Shingles is a reactivation of virus (which also causes chickenpox as primary infection – Varicella-Zoster Virus ) that causes painful skin rashes and blisters in some parts of our body. The rash usually heals in about two to four weeks. However, for some people, even after the rash has completely healed, they may still suffer an on-going nerve pain which can last for months or years.
Anyone who has had chickenpox in the past may develop shingles. The virus may still persist in their body but remains inactive. When the immune system weakens, for whatever reason, it predisposes to such disease. Possible triggers include stress or illness.
About 1 in 4 people will develop shingles at some time in their lives. People over the age of 50 have higher chances of developing Shingles. And the older the person, the higher the risk of complications. These includes secondary skin infections or eye problems which can result in loss of vision. However, the most common complication is post-herpetic neuralgia - a situation where even after the rashes are healed, the pain can still be felt for a longer time.
Shingles vaccination is recommended for people over the age of 60