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Medical Monday 6.23.14: Shingles

| June 23, 2014


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Time for some health news now. Shingles is a common virus related to chickenpox. It can be painful and contagious if not treated properly. One woman shares her shingles story with Shawn Cunningham. It’s this week’s Medical Monday.

Debra Fox enjoys her short walk to the laundry room. She loves being self sufficient. Six years ago though, for a short time, a short walk like this seemed like a mile. It hurt to walk or move ANY part of her body. Debra was in pain from shingles.

“The numbness, the tingling the pain the only way I can really describe it is you got a really bad sunburn and it hurts to move,” says Fox.

James Corbett is a Physician’s Assistant, TAMC ER Dept. and adds “Sometimes you’ll start to feel a burning sensation it only happens on one side of the body usually those are the first symptoms and then after a couple of days you’ll start to see skin eruptions like blisters.”

The blisters break, forming small sores that begin to dry and form crusts. The crusts fall off in 2 to 3 weeks. Scarring is rare. The rash usually involves a narrow area from the spine to the front of the abdomen or chest. But can also spread to the face, eyes, mouth, and ears.


Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The same virus that causes chickenpox.


Shingles can develop in any age group. You are more likely to develop the condition if:

You are older than 60

You had chickenpox before age 1

Your immune system is weakened by medications or disease

Some common shingle symptoms include:

Fever and chills

General ill feeling


Joint pain

and swollen glands

If not diagnosed and treated immediately, shingles can be contagious.

Corbett adds “If anyone has the virus, its all about prevention, cleaning your hands, not touching someone’s skin that has the rash and I would encourage everybody over the age of 50 to actually get the vaccination.”

Corbett says common shingles treatments include an oral medication, pain meds and creams to help with the itching or burning sensation. Debra says the few weeks she had shingles were hard, and she was overjoyed when it went away.

SC: How did you feel when they were gone?

DF: “Oh I was relieved, its quite a relief when you don’t have that pain there.”


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