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What is Shingles (Herpes Zoster)?

What is Shingles and How Common is it?

Shingles is an infection of a nerve area caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It causes pain and a rash along a band of skin supplied by the affected nerve. Symptoms usually go within 2-4 weeks. Pain sometimes persists after the rash has gone, more commonly in people over the age of 50. Other complications are uncommon. Antiviral medication may be prescribed to limit the severity of the condition.

Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the area of skin supplied by the nerve. It is caused by a virus called the varicella-zoster virus. It is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox in the past may develop shingles. Shingles is sometimes called hepes zoster.

Note: It is different to genital herpes which is caused by a differend virus called herpes simplex.

About 1 in 5 people has shingles at some time in their life. It can occur at any age, but it is most common in people over the age of 50. It is uncommon to have shingles more than once, but about 1 in 50 people has shingles two or more times in their life.

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