Shingles Recurrence Overview
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful and blistering skin rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Once someone has had chickenpox, the virus never leaves the body, but can stay dormant for years. If the virus is reactivated, shingles can recur.
What Are the Risk Factors for Shingles Recurrence?
There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of shingles recurrence, including:
- Age. The risk of a shingles recurrence increases with age, as the immune system can weaken with age. The risk begins to increase at age 50.
- Immune deficiency. People with weakened immune systems, due to HIV, cancer, or other conditions, are at an increased risk of having a recurrent shingles outbreak.
- Certain medications. People taking high doses of steroids, or other immunosuppressive drugs, are at a higher risk of having a shingles recurrence.
How Can Shingles Recurrence Be Managed?
Recurrent shingles can be managed with antiviral medication. It is important to start treatment as soon as symptoms are present, as it can reduce the severity of the outbreak and the duration. In addition, people with recurrent shingles should:
- Monitor their skin for any signs or symptoms of shingles.
- Be sure to rest and get plenty of sleep.
- Pay attention to their stress levels.
- Avoid any triggers that may cause an outbreak.
It is also important to speak with a doctor about any medication that may be taken to prevent or reduce the risk of recurrent shingles. This can help reduce the likelihood of further flare-ups.
Shingles can be an uncomfortable and painful disease. With proper management and treatment, recurrent shingles can be controlled and prevent further outbreaks.