In an interview with the general physician, Dr.  Petra Sandu

What is shingles and why does it break out?

Contemporary viruses are very stubborn and have perfectly evolved to adapt to their hosts. Since viruses do not have their own metabolism and are fully programmed to reproduce, they must attach themselves to the appropriate host cells in order to survive. Some types of viruses have developed very special survival strategies – once they penetrate a host’s organism, they can lie dormant there undetected and sometimes on standby for decades.

One such virus is the varicella-zoster virus. It usually leads to highly contagious chickenpox. The classic childhood illness can then be noted by a high temperature and a rash covering the whole body. However, even after the disease subsides and is cured, some varicella-zoster viruses remain in the body. There they rest undetected in the nerve tracts and wait for the right time to reactivate.

If the immune system is weakened, the viruses wake up from standby and rise along the nerve pathways. who – which The virus is breaking out againHowever, the disease no longer manifests as chickenpox, but like shingles. The appearance of shingles in adults always depends on the strength of the immune system. However, the possibility of contracting herpes zoster in adults is enormous for the following reasons: Who once had chickenpoxor has been vaccinated against chickenpox with a live vaccine, Carry the virus for the rest of their lives.

These symptoms are common with shingles

Shingles develops very differently and individually. are typical of the disease rash In a limited area of ​​the body or on limited parts of the body. form here blisters, which can also fill with pus and tend to bleed as the disease progresses. The rash is also accompanied by symptoms such as:

  • stabbing nerve pain
  • burn
  • eager, eager

stabbing nerve pain It can also appear before the rash appears. A general pattern appears during shingles and in the early stages of the disease malaise wide, affected Export and weak.

Shingles vaccination: who should definitely protect themselves

It is known that almost 95 percent of all adults over the age of 60 The The varicella zoster virus itself Wears. One third of people will have shingles at some point in their lives. Older people are particularly affected. In old age, the protective function of the immune system naturally decreases and our defenses become weaker. If there are underlying illnesses, stress, psychological stress, or other factors that weaken the immune system, the varicella-zoster viruses lurking in the nervous tracts take their chance to reactivate.

Especially for the elderly or those with pre-existing illnesses, shingles can not only be painful, but it can also be associated with long-term effects. Long-term neuralgia can occur, and complications such as vision or hearing damage are unknown if shingles flares up on the face.

Fortunately, there is now a standard shingles vaccination. STIKO recommends this vaccination for all people over 60 or people with underlying disease from age 50. Like other vaccinations, only the possibility of getting sick can be reduced – but there is no 100% protection against shingles. Talk to your family doctor and get information about the shingles vaccination. Basic information from our expert Dr. Meet Petra Sandow in the new podcast episode.

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