11 March 2015
For most of us, chicken pox was a childhood rite of passage. Fast forward to our adult years and a painful, annoying rash returns in approximately one out of three adults when we least expect it. “Shingles” is the familiar name for the rash that affects approximately one million Americans every year. The virus that causes chicken pox, varicella zoster, is never fully eradicated from our bodies. Instead, it lies dormant in nerve cells and can return at any time. Your risk of developing shingles increases with age, especially after 50 years old; trauma; stress; diseases; and medications that suppress your immune system. In order to get shingles, you must have had chicken pox previously.