shingles, also called herpes zoster, is apainful, blistering rash caused by one of the herpes viruses, but notthe one everyoneâ€™s afraid of. and while itâ€™s contagious, youâ€™ll be very surprised to find out whatyou can catch from it. stay tuned and iâ€™ll tell you. hello, i'm dr. neal schultz [pause] and welcome to dermtv.
shingles used to be an â€œolderâ€ personsdisease, but we see it more and more in young adults, starting even in the late 20â€™s. itâ€™s causedby the chickenpox virus whose medical name is the varicella-zostervirus. and while itâ€™s one of the 4 viruses in theherpes family of viruses, it has nothing to do with the herpes simplexvirus, which is the one that causes both oral anddreaded genital herpes. in medicine, shingles is considered to beone of the great imposters because the initial symptom before the rashcomes out
is pain for a few days. that pain can be severe and can even imitate the pain of a heart attack,kidney stones and even appendicitis. itâ€™s usually a shootingor radiating pain in the area where the rash comes out. ok. but you donâ€™t â€œcatchâ€ shingles fromanother person. shingles is a reactivation of your own dormantchicken pox virus that has been harmlessly sleeping in one ofyour nerves for decades, ever since you had chicken pox as a kid. then, for reasons we donâ€™t understand, thevirus wakes up,
and travels down the nerve to the skin whereit causes clusters of blisters in most of the area ofthe skin that that particular nerve goes to. since when nerves come out of the spine they either turn left or right, the rash isusually only on one side of your body, often wrapping around you fromyour back to your side, and then to your front. without treatment, the rash lasts two to threeweeks, but is shorter with treatment.
shingles is important for many reasons. first, if diagnosed and treated within thefirst three days, oral medication can shorten the painful rash and help prevent post herpetic neuralgia, which is pain that can be severe and lingerfor months after the rash clears up. second, as a greatimposter, itâ€™s important to think of it so those seriousmedical problems it imitates are not incorrectly diagnosed. and last, because itâ€™s caused by the chickenpox virus,
you are contagious to others and can givethem chicken pox if they have never had either chickenpox orthe vaccine. but the good news is you can't give someoneshingles. so if you develop a painful blistering rash, see your doctor for treatment asap! now for today's skincare trivia! answer today'squestion correctly and you'll be entered in a drawing to wina free skincare product! submit your answer at dermtv dot com slashtrivia, within three days of this episode's airing.today's question is:
why is this rash called herpes zoster? and while you can find the answers to mostdermtv trivia questions in dermtv episodes, you may have to once againlook outside for the answer to today's question.