Shore Physicians Group’s Dr. Peter Jungblut Discusses Cause, Prevention of ShinglesComments Off on Shore Physicians Group’s Dr. Peter Jungblut Discusses Cause, Prevention of Shingles
(Somers Point, NJ — July 17, 2012) — As the population ages, Americans are confronting a myriad of health issues, including one that has its root in childhood: Shingles.
Shingles is a painful, blistering skin rash that develops due to the varicella-zoster virus, also known as the virus that causes chickenpox. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one million people suffer from shingles each year in theUnited States; over time, about one in three people inAmericawill develop shingles.
Shore Physicians Group’s Peter Jungblut, MD, says anyone can suffer from shingles if they have had chickenpox, but that you are more likely to develop the condition if you are older than 60, or if medications or illness has weakened your immune system.
“After you get chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in certain nerves in the body,” Dr. Jungblut says. “Shingles occurs after the virus becomes active again in these nerves years later. The reason the virus suddenly become active again is not clear.”
If you develop shingles, the first symptom you will notice is usually a one-sided pain, tingling or burning. This may be severe, and presents before any rash appears. If a rash occurs, it usually involves a narrow area from the spine around to the front of the stomach or chest. It may involve the face, eyes, mouth and ears.
When a rash appears, it will present as red patches on the skin, followed by small blisters. The blisters will break, forming small ulcers that begin to dry and form crusts, which will fall off in between two and three weeks.
It is important to note that scarring from the rash and blisters is rare. There is one danger for shingles sufferers, however, and that is if the virus affects the nerves that control movement. Pain or discomfort can last for months or years if this occurs. This is known as post-herpetic neuralgia.
Most of the time, though, people only suffer from shingles once. As for why the virus becomes active again after what can be decades of dormancy, no one knows for sure. There is one way to ward off the onset of shingles, though, and Dr. Jungblut says that is to get the shingles vaccine.
The shingles vaccine can reduce the chances of an outbreak by 50 percent in people older than 60. Unfortunately, not many patients are taking advantage of the vaccine.
“Benjamin Franklin said that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ and this is most certainly true of the shingles vaccine,” Dr. Jungblut says. “There’s been a lot of misinformation about vaccines in the media over the past few years, which is unfortunate. Vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, and now we have one against shingles. Patients who develop shingles (or herpes zoster) uniformly say they wish they had known about or gotten the vaccine.”
About Shore Physicians Group
Shore Physicians Group is a multi-specialty medical group created with one goal in mind – “Treating People Well.” Shore Physicians Group is comprised of the area’s most highly skilled, caring and passionate physicians, nurses and clinicians, who provide quality care and the best medical outcomes in the fields of family medicine, internal medicine, general, laparoscopic, plastic and reconstructive surgery and pulmonary medicine. While Shore Physicians Group’s facilities feature the most advanced medical technology, the foundation of the exceptional care offered is humanistic and people centered.