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Allergies & Immunity :
Shingles / Herpes Zoster / Post Herpetic Neuralgia / Chicken pox shingles

Shingles is a painful viral skin disease that causes strip-like rashes on one side of the body. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus that also causes chicken pox. After a person has recovered from chicken pox, the virus can lie dormant in the body and reactivate, sometimes after years, to cause shingles.

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1. Which doctor should I consult with, if I have shingles?

You can consult a dermatologist.

2. Can anyone get shingles?

No. Not everyone will get shingles. Only those who have had chicken pox in childhood can get shingles as adults.

3. Is shingles contagious?

Shingles is not contagious and cannot spread from one person to another. However, contact with a person affected with shingles can cause chicken pox in someone who has never had it before.

4. Can shingles cause other infections related to viruses of the herpes family?

No. Shingles cannot cause other herpes related infections, because the varicella zoster virus can cause only chicken pox and shingles. The virus does not cause genital herpes or cold sores.

5. How long does the infection last?

The rash associated with shingles can last up to 2 weeks, while the pain may occur even before the rash starts and could last up to a month, or longer in some cases(Post Herpetic Neuralgia).

6. Why does the virus get reactivated after a dormant period?

The varicella zoster virus is reactivated due to the weakening of the immune system with aging or diseases like AIDS or Cancer.

7. Can shingles recur in a person affected with the infection once?

Most people are affected with the infection only once, but those with weakened immune systems may have repeated encounters with the disease.

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