Shingles is a part of the herpes family. It's known as the herpes zoster virus. About one million Americans (most over the age of 60 or with poor immune systems) suffer from shingles annually and it can be a very long and painful experience.
To get shingles, a person must have had chickenpox first as shingles stems from the same herpes virus.
Symptoms of shingle can be miserable. According to our Empowher page on shingles, symptoms include:
-Rash: Red, slightly raised band or patch often overlain with multiple small fluid-filled blisters
-Develops on one side of the body or the other, but typically does not cross the midline
-Spread to multiple parts of the body — the so-called “disseminated” zoster (in severe cases)
-Blisters dry out and crust (within several days)
-Affects mostly the torso and face
-Affected eyes (in severe cases), which can seriously threaten vision
-Pain on the skin at the site of the rash (usually severe)
-Tingling or itchiness on the skin, which may start a few days before the rash
-Skin in the affected area is unusually sensitive to touch
"The rash disappears within three weeks. The pain may continue months or years after the rash has healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). PHN pain is difficult to treat. It can also be very severe."
A new study conducted at the Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Rochester, Minnesota found that the risk of shingles in asthmatic children is significantly higher than children without asthma. In fact, when looking at the statistics of both sets of children, children with asthma were more than twice as likely (2.2 times) to get shingles.
Parents of asthmatic children should look for oncoming signs of shingles in their children if they have already been exposed to chicken pox. They may feel extra tired before symptoms occur and have tingling of the skin.
They can also experience pain without the rash, leading their parents to believe it couldn't be shingles. Even so, a red rash that usually appears several days after the pain begins should be looked for, as well as symptoms listed above.