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Accommodation Ideas for Shingles

Shingles, herpes zoster, is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus (the varicella-zoster virus). After having chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus retreats to nerve cells in the body, where it often lies dormant for many years. Like other members of the herpes family (such as the herpes simplex viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes), the varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox never leaves the body. Certain factors, such as stress, aging, or low immunity, can reactivate the virus and it begins to reproduce. The virus travels along the path of a nerve (where the virus "slept") to the skin's surface and becomes visible as shingles. Shingles causes numbness, tingling, itching, or pain before a blistery rash appears. This rash appears as fluid-filled blisters. Because shingles occurs in an area of the skin that is supplied by sensory fibers of a single nerve, called a dermatome, the rash usually appears in a strip on one side of the body, typically the torso, face, nose, and eyes. Diagnosis is difficult before the rash appears and may be mistaken for conditions such as appendicitis or heart attack. Treatments focus on shortening the duration of the shingles outbreak and controlling the associated pain, but there is not currenlty a vaccine distributed to prevent shingles. Shingles may lead to a chronic painful condition called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) that can be difficult to treat, and many individuals who experience shingles have pain in the affected area during periods of short-term stress. A small percentage of people have more than one occurrence of shingles.

Accommodation ideas for individuals with shingles:

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