Shingles is a viral infection caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. The chickenpox virus lies dormant in nerves for years and resurfaces as shingles.
Main symptoms include pain, rash on one side your body few days after pain, and itching. For some people, the pain may be intense and the rashes may affect the eyes. Rashes last for two to four weeks. For most people, the pain goes away slowly over a period of a few months. For some, the pain due to shingles may last for years affecting their normal lives. This condition is known as post-herpetic neuralgia. One may need to resort to alternative therapies to manage this pain. There are only two ways to prevent shingles.
If you have never had chickenpox, then having vaccination for chickenpox can prevent both chickenpox and shingles.
If you have had chickenpox, one may be able to prevent shingles by having shingles vaccine, Zostavax. The shingles vaccine is only for people above 60 years old, although people above 50 years old can suffer from shingles, The vaccine does not treat shingles or post-therapetic neuralgia. It is effective for at least six years.
Shingles can recur multiple times. The shingles vaccine is effective and safe, even if you have had shingles before.
If you are pregnant, stay away from any potential chance of getting infected. Consult your OBGYN or primary care physician immediately.