Apr 30, 2010 1:15 PM by Greg Boyce

Pain of shingles can be excruciating

Registered Nurse Diane Ashton specializes in immunizations and she knows the kind of pain that comes from shingles.  She had an attack when she was 21.  "I did not know what it was," said Ashton.  "I knew it was extremely painful to the point that I couldn't really move that side of my body."

Shingles usually starts as a rash and then spreads, typically forming a large blistering band around one side of the body.  It's a virus.  The same one that causes chicken pox.  After having chicken pox the virus can sit dormant for decades and then flare up as shingles.

"You got chickenpox. Your body got rid of it, put it in jail," said Dr. Michael Babcock, a dermatologist.  But years or even decades later, it can come back.  Doctors don't know for sure what triggers shingles, but it may be stress or something that weakens the immune system.

Doctors are seeing more young patients with shingles, but for unknown reasons.  They recommend getting the shingles vaccine.  Keep in mind the FDA only recommends the shingles vaccine for people over 60. 

The El Paso County Health Department is offering shingles vaccine at clinics on Fridays and Saturdays, but only to people aged 60 to 64.



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