Shingles: How Common is it?
Shingles is a relatively common disease. Out of the 90% of the
worlds population that had chickenpox (typically in childhood), 1
in 5 seniors will develop shingles. It is not known why some people
get shingles and other don't or why it is mostly seniors who
You will only get shingles if you have had chickenpox. This is
because the VZV virus that causes chickenpox
will remain latent in the body after chickenpox. It is the
reactivation of VZV that causes shingles and
you can't do much to prevent it. A key factor in reactivation
seems to be a low immune defense system but although it is a good
idea, a healthy lifestyle will not entirely protect you against
No Cure for VZV or Shingles but Antiviral Treatment can Help
There is no cure for VZV or shingles.
Usually an antiviral agent such as Valacyclovir, Acyclovir or
Famciclovir will be prescribed to reduce the risk of Post-Herpetic
neuralgia and reduce the duration and severity of shingles.
There is a vaccine known as the Varicella vaccine. This is usually
recommended for people who did not have chickenpox in childhood as
chickenpox in adults can be quite serious. The vaccine is also
available for children but is not required unlike other vaccines.
It will not eliminate the risk of chickenpox but it will reduce it
considerably and if you do get it, it will be very mild and
manageable. As the vaccine has only been available in the last
decade, there is not yet any information on its ability to protect
- How long will shingles last?
- What treatment is available for shingles?
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- Herpes Viruses: