Shingles: Immune System Failure
It’s gone! Jeannie was so excited! Within a week, what had started out as painful shingles had just disappeared. She was pregnant, and since she was already having complications from the pregnancy she was really distraught over the possibility of adding the pain of shingles to her list of problems. She was obviously relieved when it went away so quickly.
Shingles is essentially the chicken pox that you had as a child. The virus hides in a nerve somewhere in your body, and when your immune system is down — for any reason — it can come out and make a rash. It’s the same virus you had as a child that’s been hiding inside you for decades!
You don’t catch shingles from someone else – you had it all along. By the same token, you can’t give it to someone else. You can, however, cause chicken pox in someone who has never been exposed to it before.
Since it hides in the nervous system it can show up anywhere in the body, from the top of the head to the tip of the toe. Also, because of this, it has certain characteristics:
- It stays in the nerve so it can only be on one side — the right or the left, never crossing the midline of the body.
- It often starts with...