Shingles: A Replay of an Old Virus

Just when you think that childhood diseases were nothing more than a fuzzy memory -- you develop shingles.  The same virus (varicella-zoster) that caused chickenpox when you were young gets reactivated in later life, causing a return of the rash, blisters, and discomfort that are common with both diseases. About 20 percent of older Americans develop shingles during their lifetime.


To help seniors understand and cope with this disease, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) has produced a new Age Page, "Shingles," which discusses the symptoms, risk factors, treatment, and complications, including post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), an extremely painful aftermath of shingles. The brochure also offers tips for staying comfortable and lists helpful resources. Readers can view the Shingles Age Page online or order a free copy at


NIA is one of 27 institutes and centers that constitute the National Institutes of Health. The NIA leads federal efforts to support and conduct basic, clinical, epidemiological, and social research on aging and the special needs of older people. 


Source: National Institute on Aging