Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shingles 101

[Yeap, I’m bored… Anyways, I heard from JerB that some colleagues were googling “shingles” so let me summarize my own “findings” here too! Haha!]

What Is Shingles?

Shingles is known as Herpes zoster (or simply zoster), is a viral disease characterized by a painful skin rash with blisters in a limited area on one side of the body, often in a stripe.

Have you ever had chickenpox? Well, once you had an episode of chickenpox, the virus (a.k.a. varicella zoster virus) is not eliminated from your body. And often many years after the initial chickenpox infection, if can go on to cause shingles (which has different symptoms than chickenpox). The virus becomes latent in your nerve cells and your immune system basically keeps the virus in check.

In my case, I had chickenpox w-a-y back when I was about 10 years old (and that is not just one decade ago, it was TWO decades back!!!).

And why the resurfacing of the virus now? Well, it is mainly caused by a breakdown (or compromise) of my immune system. You know what they say about when the cat’s away? The mice of this virus started to breakaway from the nerve cell bodies to the surface of the skin. According to wikipedia, the world incidence rate of herpes zoster every year ranges from 1.2 to 3.4 cases per 1,000 healthy individuals.

Signs & Symptoms

Earliest symptoms: fever, headache and malaise (which is a fancy word for saying you simply “feel unwell” and a general feeling of discomfort…). Other early signs include pain, itching, numbness…

But the most obvious symptom is by far the skin rash. It looks like hives initially (red bumps) – which I do suffer periodically from – but soon develops blisters. These blisters will soon be filled with blood, crust over 7-10 days and fall off.

Oooh… Sounds so delightful right?


Looking at my rash, I am at the Day 3 or 4 of the shingles rash. THANKFULLY, the rash is concentrated on my left thigh. It is definitely uncomfortable (though the rash area is about the size of half my palm, my entire left leg feel leaden and sore) and not something I’d want to continue, but other than that, I am feeling alright.

And nah… i won’t post a pic of my rashes. Not something I want to remember next time! Hahaha!


Oh, and please pray…

- Jayvon will NOT be infected. Neither will my sister’s kids or the other people staying with me too!

- No scarring! (I still want to wear short skirts next time, ya know!)


Bonnie said...

Oh no! I hope you are feeling better very soon. 14 days? Wow.

Thank you for stopping by my blog yesterday. Take care!

ED said...

poor Mummy :(

龙哥 said...

will be praying for u...