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CDC Warns: One-Third of Americans at Risk of Shingles, Regardless of Age

One-Third of Americans at Risk of Shingles

United States: Varicella-zoster virus – the same virus that is responsible for chickenpox – is responsible for shingles, which is an uncomfortable infection characterized by severe eruptions and vesicles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least one-third of all the people in the United States will develop shingles, including children.

People in this category are those who are within the age bracket of 50 and above, and they are at a higher risk of experiencing this disease. Therefore, according to the CDC’s recommendation, two doses of the Shingrix vaccine should be taken to protect oneself against the occurrence of shingles, as highlighted by newsx. com.

Shingles, also known as Herpes zoster, cause burning pain and rash, and they may cause severe neural or ocular complications, as outlined by WHO. This manifests as shingles and is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also leads to chicken pox. The following are considered to be susceptible to chickenpox if they have been diagnosed with this illness once. Thus, in general, while the outbreak of chickenpox disappears, the virus itself starts to stay dormant in nerve cells.

Shingles appear as a red rash on the skin akin to discomfort and a burning feeling. However, while chickenpox generally erupts on one side of the skin, often it is found to be localized to any part of the body, including the chest, neck, or face. The rationale for this course of action is based on the understanding that VZV, although patients usually recover within 3-5 weeks, can have multiple outbreaks and may reduce the patient’s quality of life. Some of them are severe, sharp, throbbing, stinging or burning, unbearable, sharp, stabbing pain, and post-herpetic neuralgia.

Visual Representation of Shingles. Credit | Shutterstock

Vaccination is recommended for elderlies and those with medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney failure, or cancer, and others. However, they are contagious unless the person who has the disease comes across a person who has no defense mechanisms against chickenpox, as stated by the specialists.


According to the CDC, the initial manifestation of shingles is pain and burning, typically confined to one side of the body and affecting a specific dermatome.

Pain and Burning Sensation

Shingles typically commence with a burning sensation in a particular bodily region, often accompanied by pain, tingling, or numbness. This discomfort can range from mild to severe and is generally limited to one side of the body. While it can occur anywhere, it predominantly affects the torso or face, as per newsx.com.

Red Rash

Within a few days of onset, a distinctive red rash materializes, typically on one side of the body or face. The rash, often red in hue, can vary from dark pink to purplish or brown, contingent on skin tone. It can provoke itching and a burning sensation.


As the rash advances, it may engender fluid-filled blisters on the reddened skin. These blisters, varying in size, are prone to rupture easily. Surrounded by inflamed skin, they can cause considerable pain.

Flu-like Symptoms

Some individuals may exhibit flu-like symptoms, including mild fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle weakness. Fever is the body’s natural response to infection and inflammation and may be present in more severe cases of shingles.

Itching and Sensitivity to Touch

In addition to the pain, the afflicted area may experience itching. However, scratching the rash can intensify discomfort and heighten the risk of infection. Moreover, the skin may become sensitive to touch, causing even light contact to induce pain or discomfort, elucidates Dr Patade.


After a few days, the blisters may rupture, resulting in the development of shallow ulcers. These ulcers subsequently form scabs or crusts as part of the healing process.

What Causes Shingles?

Visual Representation of Shingles Disease. Credit | Getty images

Shingles are precipitated by the varicella-zoster virus, the same pathogen responsible for chickenpox. While it can afflict individuals who have had chickenpox, it remains uncertain why it impacts certain individuals while others remain unaffected.

Shingles, caused by the varicella-zoster virus, can affect individuals who have previously contracted chickenpox, though not everyone develops the condition. Various factors contribute to its occurrence, including a weakened immune system, stress, aging, certain medications, recent surgery, and underlying medical conditions compromising immunity.

Aging, in particular, plays a significant role, as the natural decline in immune function with age can hinder the body’s ability to control latent viruses like varicella-zoster. These factors can trigger the reactivation of the virus, leading to the characteristic symptoms of shingles, such as pain, rash, and blistering, typically localized to one side of the body.

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