Herpes Zoster or Shingles is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. It affects the never endings in the skin. The skin of the abdomen under the ribs, leading toward the navel, is most commonly affected, but shingles can appear anywhere on the body.
Most adults have already contracted chickenpox. This common childhood disease causes a fever and a rash that itched maddeningly but rarely does any permanent damage. However, once the varicella-zoster virus enters the body and has spinal cord and nerve ganglia for years until activated, usually by a weakening of the immune system. Then the varicella-zoster infection spreads to their very ends of the nerves, causing them to send impulses to the brain, and rendering the overlying skin much more sensitive than usual. An attack of shingles is often preceded by three or four days of chills, fever and achiness. There may also be a pain in the affected area. Then crops of tiny blisters appear. The affected area becomes excruciatingly painful and sensitive to the touch. Other symptoms can include numbness, depression, tingling, shooting pains, fever, and headache. This phase of shingles lasts seven to fourteen days. The blisters eventually form crusty scabs and drop off.
Shingles can appear at any age but are most common in people over the age of 15 when immune function naturally begins to decline as a result of aging. Most severe cases may last longer and require aggressive treatment. In some cases, the pain continues for months, even years, after post-herpetic neuralgia, is more likely to occur in older people. If shingles develop near the eyes, the cornea may be affected and blindness may result. About 20% of persons who get shingles go on to suffer a recurrence of the disease.
For people with immune deficiencies, shingles and their aftermath can be devastating. The disease is capable of affecting the internal organs, attacking even the lungs and kidneys. Disseminated shingles can cause permanent injury- including blindness, deafness, or paralysis, depending upon the area of the body that is served by the infected nerves- if it goes unchecked. Death can occur as the result of a secondary bacterial infection or viral pneumonia brought on by shingles.
Caution: Bee pollen may cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. Start with a small amount, and discontinue use if a rash, wheezing, discomfort, or other symptoms occur.
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