Shingles

What is Shingles?Shingles virus shingles Shingles shingles Rash

Shingles, otherwise known as Herpes Zoster Virus (VZV/HHV-3) is a more serious version of chicken pox and just one of eight different viruses that are infectious to people in the herpesvirus family (although there are 100 known herpes viruses).

As children, acute infection leads to varicella, or “chicken pox.” It’s contagious through direct contact with a skin lesion or through airborne spread from respiratory droplets.

Over 90% of today’s adults acquired the Varicella virus during childhood and lifelong immunity is boosted every time there is contact with an active case of wild chickenpox. Historically, children have generously given their parents, teachers, pediatricians, and the community at large this “immune boost,” which keeps them from experiencing shingles later in life. With more and more children getting the chicken pox vaccine since it became available in 1995, fewer and fewer children are getting this childhood acute illness, and are not supplying the immune boost needed to avoid the virus later in life.

Why are there more cases of Shingles now?

The VZ virus remains dormant in the cranial nerve and dorsal root ganglia. It can reactivate later causing Herpes Zoster (HZ) if exogenous (outside) boosts are not encountered or if the person is immunocompromised (in poor health or dealing with other stressors). Being in contact with children carrying VZV (chicken pox) is what tones and ‘reminds’ the immune system to stay healthy.

After the development of the chicken pox vaccine, during the post surveillance study done in Antelope Valley, CA, researcher Gary Goldman, Ph.D. observed a sharp increase in shingles cases in people of all ages, and he became very alarmed. This was later confirmed by other scientists. Bringing this to the attention of his CDC superior, Dr. Goldman was told not to be concerned because a vaccine could easily be produced. The shingles vaccine was introduced in 2006.

The homeoprophylaxis for shingles is the same as the HP for chicken pox. For more information about HP email Cilla at cilla@worldwidechoice.org

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