Dr Oz: What Is Shingles? + Appearance & Risk Factors

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Dr Oz: What Is Shingles?

Dr Oz said the only good thing about getting the chicken pox was being told that you would never get them again. But actually about half of the people who once had chicken pox, will fall victim to them all over again, in the form of shingles.

Dr Oz: What Is Shingles? + Appearance & Risk Factors

Dr Oz explained what the shingles virus is, as well as the risk factors and how to spot it. (Igor Petrov / Shutterstock)

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Liz had chicken pox as a child and remembers being very itchy. She said she has heard of shingles but has never had them herself.

Dr Oz explained that chicken pox involves little blisters all over the body that are full of virus. Then there’s shingles, which is similar looking, but doesn’t have blisters. Dr Oz explained that when you’re a kid with chicken pox, once you get over it, the virus is pushed back into the base of your spine, where it sits throughout your life. Then something happens and the virus begins to escape along the path of the nerves.

Dr Oz: What Does Shingles Look Like?

The virus will appear as a specific “band” on your skin. Typically it will follow along a rib, but doesn’t cross the mid-line, whereas chicken pox are everywhere.

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Dr Oz: What Causes Shingles?

Dr. Tracy Zivin-Tutela explained that one of the things that can cause shingles to appear is stress because it weakens the immune system and awakens the virus living inside of us. She said we’re seeing more younger people being treated for rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s Disease with medication that will weaken their immune system. Plus, the younger population is becoming more stressed.

Dr Oz: Shingles Risk Factors + Vaccine

The risk factors for shingles include being a female over the age of 50 who has had chicken pox and is on certain medications. Once you’ve had shingles, you can get it again, just in a different location, which is why they recommend getting the vaccine.

The vaccine is recommended for women aged 50 and up and the biggest complaint is a sore arm. Dr Oz said most insurances will cover the vaccine and you can typically get it at your local pharmacy.

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