What is the link between shingles and chicken pox?Skin, Hair & Nails Health & Fitness Vaccination
My 64 years old dad was diagnosed with Shingles. He experienced shooting pain from the back of his neck that spread to his jawline first. He later developed itchy blisters over his upper body. He has never had chickenpox before. What is the link between shingles and chicken pox? I've read that one has to have chickenpox first before presenting with Shingles at a later date. How is my dad's condition possible?
Chicken pox and shingles are the same virus but in different forms. Chicken Pox is usually the first presentation, which typically happens in younger individuals and with a characteristic patten of blisters, crusting and a trunkal rash, while Shingles tends to happen later and can be associated with painful blisters in a nerve distribution.
The varicella virus sits within the nerve endings, after the initial Chicken Pox infection, and if you become unwell or your immune system is under attack, it can develop as a secondary infection. Sometimes with Shingles, you can develop a tingling sensation beforehand or post-infection nerve pain.
For your father, it is likely that he did have Chicken Pox at some stage of his life, but it maybe that it was considered mild or sub-clinical. Sometimes it might be worth seeing a GP or general physician for more advice.
Hope this helps.
It's likely that your dad has had chicken pox in the past before.
This is because Shingles is caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus.
Antiviral medicines such as acyclovir can help to treat shingles and shorten the length and severity of illness. They need to be taken as soon as possible to be the most effective.
The only way to reduce the risk of developing shingles is to get vaccinated. The CDC currently recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get 2 doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix.
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