Herpes Zoster (HZ), commonly known as Shingles is an extremely painful cutaneous rash, often in the forms of localized red blisters. If you had chickenpox (varicella-zoster virus) before, you are at risk of experiencing of HZ – usually after 50 years of age. This is because after viral infection of chicken pox, the virus reminds latent within the body and can active HZ. Why does HZ hurt so much? It is because it causes inflammation of the nerves and blisters towards the skin.
There is no evidence currently that can explain this activation of HZ – however conventional wisdom suggests that psychological stress triggers the activation of HZ. One study conduct by Zhou et al (2015) observed that among 39 811 people experiencing stressful events, 137 developed HZ during the study period.
Although, common in the older population – there are cases of young infants to adolescents that experiences HZ. From speaking with my family doctor, he has observed an increase incidences of HZ in younger generations.
Yes, I was one of those young people who experienced this ‘old people’ problem. Why? like the conventional thinking due to stress. As a person experience stress, common lifestyle changes such as lack of sleep, psychological distress and unhealthy eating habits leads to metabolic and immune changes within the body. Your immune system works hard to keep this virus latent, and so when you are stress, there is a decrease in the functionality of your immune system, hence a possible explanation of HZ.
Enough about the general summary of HZ (more information could be found online), however I would like to share my experiences with HZ and the post-problems I currently face from HZ.