In an interview with the general practitioner Dr. Petra Sandowová

What is shingles and why does it crack?

Viruses are extremely stubborn contemporaries and have perfectly evolved to adapt to their hosts. Because viruses do not have their own metabolism and are purely programmed to reproduce, they must attach to appropriate host cells to survive. Some types of viruses have developed very special survival strategies – once they enter the host’s organism, they can lie there undetected and sometimes in standby mode for decades.

One such virus is the varicella zoster virus. It usually triggers the highly contagious chicken pox. The classic childhood disease is then evident with a high fever and a skin rash covering the entire body. However, even after the disease has subsided and been cured, part of the varicella-zoster virus remains in the body. There they rest undiscovered in the neural pathways, waiting for the right time to reactivate.

If the immune system is weakened, viruses wake up from standby and climb along the nerve pathways. That The virus breaks out againhowever, the disease no longer manifests itself as chicken pox, but like shingles. Whether shingles breaks out in adults always depends on the strength of the immune system. However, the potential for adults to develop shingles is huge because: Who once had chicken poxor has been vaccinated against chicken pox with a live vaccine, carry the virus for life.

These symptoms are common with shingles

Shingles progresses very differently and individually. are typical for the disease skin rashes on a limited area of ​​the body or on several limited parts of the body. Form here blisters, which may also be filled with pus and tend to bleed as the disease progresses. The rash is also accompanied by symptoms such as:

  • stabbing nerve pain
  • Burn
  • itch

Stinging nerve pain it can appear even before the rash appears. A general pattern appears during shingles and in the early stages of the disease nausea wide, disabled are they knocked and weak.

Shingles vaccination: who should definitely be protected

It is known that approx 95 percent of all adults over the age of 60 and The varicella zoster virus itself wear. A third of all people will develop shingles at some point in their lives. Elderly people are especially affected. In old age, the protective function of the immune system naturally decreases and our defenses weaken. If there are underlying diseases, stress, psychological stress or other factors that weaken the immune system, the varicella-zoster viruses dormant in the neural pathways take their chances to reactivate.

Especially for the elderly or those with a pre-existing condition, shingles can be not only painful but can also have long-term consequences. Long-lasting nerve pain can occur, and complications such as vision or hearing damage are not unknown if shingles breaks out on the face.

Fortunately, there is now a standard vaccination against shingles. STIKO recommends this vaccination for all people over the age of 60 or people with an underlying disease from the age of 50. Like other vaccinations, it can only reduce the chance of getting the disease – however, there is no 100% protection against shingles. Talk to your family doctor for information about the shingles vaccine. Basic information from our expert Dr. Find out about Petra Sandow in our new podcast episode.

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