OPINION

Health and Wellness: Shingles aren’t just a roof tile

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department
Special to Dallas County News and Perry Chief

The word shingles might make you think of the asphalt covering on your roof. But if you’ve experienced the disease of the same name, it means something entirely different. 

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the presence of the chickenpox virus in a person’s body, and it most commonly affects older adults and those with weakened immune systems. According to Web MD, shingles typically start with a tingling or painful sensation on the skin of the chest or back, which progresses to very painful blisters. 

Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. Mayo Clinic states that the cause of shingles is unknown, but risk factor for older adults include having chickenpox as children, that their immune system has weakened over time, they’ve had cancer or are taking certain medications. 

A shingles vaccine called Shingrix is available. It cannot prevent shingles 100% but will reduce the severity of the symptoms. Consult your health care provider when considering if the vaccine is a good idea for you. Be sure to check whether your insurance covers this vaccine.