What is Shingles?
Shingles is an infection of a nerve and of the skin around it, caused by the herpes virus which also causes chickenpox.
Chickenpox is common in childhood, but the virus can remain dormant in the nervous system even after recovery. If this virus is reactivated it can cause shingles.
How common is Shingles?
Around 3 in every 1,000 people in the UK have shingles each year, but around 11 in every 1,000 people over 80 suffer from the condition. Risk of shingles increases over the age of 50, and it is much less common in children.
Having lowered immunity due to old age, being stressed, and another health condition can increase your chances of contracting shingles.
What are the symptoms of Shingles?
Shingles may cause some early symptoms before the rash appears, including a high temperature, muscle pain, burning or itchiness of the skin, and a feeling of being unwell.
The most common sign of the condition is a tingling sensation, followed by pain and then a rash. The rash can affect any part of your body, but it most commonly affects the chest and the tummy. Shingles may also give you pain in your arms and legs, a feeling that the nerves in the upper half of your face are affected, and exhaustion.
How is Shingles treated?
There is no cure for shingles, but treatment can help ease your symptoms. The shingles rash should be kept clean and dry, and calamine lotion can help with the itching. An antihistamine can also help prevent itching at night. Shingles may also be treated with painkilling medication and antiviral medication.
If you have not received treatment or advice, or suffered any symptoms in the past five years choose a moratorium product.