What's Going Around: Shingles

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) A lot of us had chicken pox as kids. While it wasn't pleasant, it was a walk in the park compared to what that same virus can do later in life.

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Dr. Susan Fedewa at the 98point6 EmergiCenter tells us there are around half-a-million case of shingles every year. The virus causes strips of rash-like blisters around the torso. In some cases it can develop near an eye or on one side of your face or neck.

Shingles causes severe pain and can cause permanent eye damage.
The virus stays dormant in your nerve tissue after you've had chicken pox and it's most likely to come back as shingles as you get older.

People with suppressed immune systems and cancer patients are considered high-risk. You can't catch shingles from another person. But the fluid inside the blisters can pass the virus along. That will cause chicken pox -- but not shingles.

The varicella vaccine will protect you from the herpes zoster virus that causes chicken pox. You can't get shingles if you've never had chicken pox. If you have, then you can get Zostavax.

Doctors recommend it for adults 60 and older whether or not they've had shingles before.