Shingles is actually quite common, as nearly one in three adults in the U.S. will get the infection during their lifetime.

Shingles is typically not a large cause for concern for those who are otherwise healthy, but it can cause complications when left untreated. In fact, among those who are over the age of 65, those complications can even lead to death.

Learn more from our AFC Urgent Care Chapman Highway team about this viral infection below.

What Exactly Is Shingles?

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. The infection is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox may develop shingles, due to the virus lying dormant in the nervous system for years afterward.

Although shingles can occur anywhere on the body, it most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso. We’ve listed its most common signs and symptoms below.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Shingles

  • Tingling or numb sensation under the skin
  • A patchy, red rash that oozes and itches
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

How Dangerous Is Shingles?

Technically, shingles isn’t considered a dangerous health condition. Each year about 1 million new cases of shingles are reported in the United States, and most people recover and resume their normal activities once they’re no longer infectious.

However, it is true that particularly severe cases can lead to death. People with autoimmune conditions and people over the age of 65 are at a higher risk for shingles complications.

Additional Risk Factors for Shingles

  • Having a disease that weakens the immune system, such as HIV and cancer
  • Receiving cancer treatment or other medications that weaken the immune system
  • Experiencing long-term use of steroids, like prednisone
  • Being over the age of 50, which puts you at greater risk for shingles

Do you have further questions about shingles? If so, don’t hesitate to call or visit our AFC Urgent Care Chapman Highway team today!