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Here is the difference between Shingles and a Normal Rash

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Shingles vs a Normal Rash

You hear about it on TV and see posters at clinics everywhere - if you were born before the mid-60’s or had chickenpox as a kid, then you may develop a painful condition called shingles. However, what many don’t hear is that shingles is no longer considered to be an “older person’s disease.” In fact, teenagers can come down with shingles as well and are at risk of losing their vision.

So just what is shingles? Can you catch it or pass it onto someone else? What special precautions do you need to take if you or someone you know has shingles? Listen to this heartfelt and informative video from a teenager who has shingles for answers to these questions:

For many middle-aged and older Americans, it was a neighborhood ritual for moms to take their child over to a neighbor’s house that had a kid who had come down with the chickenpox. The reason for this is that before a chickenpox vaccine was available, the chances were almost certain that you would get chickenpox eventually. Well-meaning moms took advantage of the opportunity to get the illness out of the way during the summer months so that their child would not miss school.

Unfortunately, doing so put millions of children at risk of a painful and what could be a debilitating illness when they became older. According to Dr. Oz, the source of shingles―chicken pox―gets its name from the first appearance of the varicella virus as it erupts on a child’s body.

“They are called chicken pox because if you look at them [the pox skin lesions] they look like little peck marks,” says Dr. Oz as he points to an illustration of a pox-riddled body telling viewers that those marks are the classic sign of an infection. According to Dr. Oz, those peck marks can later manifest as extremely painful large blotches of inflamed skin that has a characteristic streaking pattern.

This streak-like band pattern is referred to as a dermatome, and results due to the presence of viruses that lie along the nerves and nerve cells that attach to the skin. Normally, the viruses remain hidden—usually referred to as “dormant or latent”―and do not present much of a problem. But under certain conditions they can become active and lead to disease.

So, what are your chances of developing shingles if you’ve had chicken pox? “Very high,” experts tell us. Especially if you have the other following risk factors:

• Being over 50 years of age
• Are female
• Are Caucasian
• Continually under stress

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“Every one of them is a risk factor and it’s amazing because when you have it, you always kick yourself for not knowing all of these things,” says Dr. Oz.

So how do you know if you have shingles as opposed to another type of rash? Dr. Oz tells viewers that when shingles begins to develop you will notice the following signs and symptoms:

• A slight tingling pain of the skin over the affected area
• A very painful red rash that follows and takes two days to appear
• The rash never crosses over the midline of the body

“You get a rash that’s following along one of your ribs usually, but it can be other places too. But it never goes across your middle,” says Dr. Oz.

Here is a little more about how to diagnose shingles, and what ointments and medications you can use to treat it:

While shingles is treatable, there is no cure and you may experience the condition repeatedly. The current recommendation by health professionals is to get vaccinated to protect yourself from a potential outbreak. Scientific studies demonstrate that the shingles vaccine reduces the risk of developing shingles by about 50% and may lessen the outbreak if you have already experienced shingles.

Dr. Oz concurs with this advice and recommends that if you meet the risk factor criteria above, then you should see your doctor about having a shingles vaccine. Doing so may prevent your latent chickenpox virus from erupting into a full-blown skin rash, and thereby save you from unnecessary pain and misery.

Image Source: Courtesy of Wikipedia

Reference: The Dr. Oz Show