Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Shingles? - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Shingles?

Shingles is a painful rash that can occur in anyone who has had chicken pox at any point in their life. While chicken pox is typically seen in children and young adults, shingles affects people on the opposite side of the age spectrum, and is mostly seen in people over the age of 60.

"The virus stays in your body, and if your immune system is stressed, or the older you get your immune system weakens a little bit and you're more likely to get shingles," shared Dr. Tiffani Dennis, a physician with Martha Jefferson Internal Medicine.

In many cases, the first sign of shingles is a tingly, itchy sensation that comes before any rash can be seen. Once the rash does appear, it's often easy to tell if it's shingles based on where it's located.

"Shingles is a localized rash, so it might be on one area of your side or your face, but it's always one side of the body and appears as a blistery looking rash," said Dr. Dennis.

In order to work to prevent shingles, and the pain that can be long-term after developing the rash, a vaccine is available to adults age 60 and above.

It's a one-time vaccine and should be given when you are healthy and have a strong immune system. Even if you've had shingles previously, you can still get the vaccine in hopes of preventing future experiences.

If you do notice any symptoms, it's important to call your doctor right away. Treatment is available for shingles, but it needs to be given in the first 48 hours.

For more information on this topic, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009, or email MJHinfo@sentara.com.

If you have a question you'd like answered about your health, email healthquestions@nbc29.com.

Do you have health questions? Starting June 4, get the answers every Monday morning from the experts at Martha Jefferson Hospital in our new feature: Martha Jefferson Monday.

Jenn Downs will meet with the experts of Martha Jefferson Hospital and ask them your questions. You’ll see and hear the answers during NBC29 News at Sunrise every Monday morning.

Submit your questions now! Just click this link and write your question in the email. Then tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Martha Jefferson Monday brought to you by NBC29 and Martha Jefferson Hospital.

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