What Are Shingles and Is There a Cure?

There are so many diseases of the human body that one has trouble keeping up and shingles is one of them. It has come to my notice again after a friend of the family said she has it. The first time I heard about this affliction was when a teacher complained of it during my high school days. From then on no one mentioned it until my sister spoke of it a few weeks before she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and now it has happened again.

Running it through the search engine provided enough information to understand that the problem comes from the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same as the chicken-pox virus. That makes anyone who has had the latter susceptible to developing it. The information also warns that a sufferer may pass on chicken to those who are susceptible.

Apparently the virus lies dormant in the nervous system and attacks it when triggered by a disease. Such includes certain cancers, HIV Aids, a poor immune system, and stress or trauma. Treatments, including some medications, and immunosuppressive drugs (following a transplant) are also triggers.

The sufferer experiences severe pain, itching, and numbness on a certain part of the skin o n the same side of the body. That is because it is carried by one nerve that is affected. It results in a rash that resembles chicken-pox but anyone who has never had the latter will not develop it.

While there is no treatment for it Calamine Lotion and antihistamines may help stop the itching overnight. It is noted that some anti-viral medications may prevent it multiplying.

The question is why this disease is not being taken more seriously by scientists. There is no awareness of it in the general community and research money is not asked for within the public arena. While it is a virus related to herpes surely there is someone who can put this on the agenda for governments and the science community to focus on.

This is especially important as it is estimated that 1 in 3 people will develop shingles in their lifetime. An episode can last from 2-4 weeks and can also affect the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Rarely it can also lead to pneumonia, brain inflammation, or death. That puts it in the rather serious bracket and the discomfort is a hindrance to one’s working ability.

So while we know what the disease is and that there is no known cure the next step is to bring awareness to it. We need to push this with the hope that the authorities will give more money and thought towards finding a cure.