Herpes zoster, more commonly known as Shingles, is a medical condition that affects roughly one in every three people in the United States. It is often seen in older individuals, typically over the age of fifty, as the risk of getting Shingles increases with age. It is caused by the same virus as Chickenpox, so anyone who has recovered from Chickenpox is at risk of getting Shingles.
Although it is unclear why, after one has recovered from Chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in the body. When the virus reactivates, it moves along a nerve fiber towards the skin and generates clusters of blisters. The formation of these blisters can be extremely uncomfortable and painful.
Diagnosing Shingles early on is important because this is when the antiviral medications are the most effective at curing Shingles. These medications have the capability of clearing the skin of the condition as well as preventing pain, numbness, and tingling sensations sometimes associated with getting rid of Shingles, which have the potential of lasting for extended periods of time.