October 9, 2015
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Shingles (Herpes Zoster) (cont.)

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What can be done for recurrent shingles?

Though most people will experience only one episode of shingles during their lifetime, recurrence can occur in certain individuals. In order to help prevent recurrent episodes of shingles, individuals with no contraindications can receive the zoster vaccine (Zostavax), which has been shown to be effective in decreasing recurrent episodes of shingles. Otherwise, people who do experience a recurrent case of shingles should see their doctor as soon as the rash appears in order to promptly receive antiviral medication.

What is the prognosis of shingles?

Generally speaking, shingles typically resolves within two to four weeks in most individuals. The prognosis is excellent for younger and healthy individuals who develop shingles, with very few experiencing any complications. However, in older individuals and in those with compromised immune systems, the prognosis is more guarded, as complications and more severe outbreaks of shingles occur more commonly in these groups.

Approximately 1%-4% of people who develop shingles require hospitalization for complications, and about 30% of those hospitalized have impaired immune systems. In the U.S., it is estimated there are approximately 96 deaths per year directly related to the varicella zoster virus, the vast majority of which occur in the elderly and in those who are immunocompromised.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/6/2015

Source: MedicineNet.com

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