DHHS, NIH News  
National Institute on Aging (NIA)

National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Stephanie Dailey, NIA


Kathy Cravedi, NLM

NIHSeniorHealth Offers Information about Shingles

Each year, 600,000 or more Americans are diagnosed with shingles, a painful skin disease caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus. Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for shingles, though people over age 50 are at greatest risk. Effective treatments and prevention have been limited, but recent research has shown that shingles can be treated if treatment is started early. Now, information about shingles — how to recognize it and treat it — is only a mouse click away at www.nihseniorhealth.gov.

"Shingles is a major health problem in older adults. Launching this Web topic is an important step toward our goal of informing older adults about this debilitating disease," says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which developed the content for the shingles topic on the Web site. "Older Americans can turn to NIHSeniorHealth for accurate, helpful information about shingles diagnosis, treatment, and research."

One of the fastest growing age groups using the Internet, older Americans increasingly turn to the World Wide Web for health information. In fact, 66 percent of "wired" seniors surf for health and medical information when they go online. NIHSeniorHealth, a joint effort of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), was designed especially with seniors in mind. The site is based on the latest research on cognition and aging. It features short, easy-to-read segments of information that can be accessed in a variety of formats, including various large-print type sizes, open-captioned videos, and even an audio version. Additional topics coming soon to the site include problems with taste and smell, eye diseases, stroke, and osteoporosis. The site links to MedlinePlus, NLM's premier, more detailed site for consumer health information.

The NIA leads the Federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The NLM, the world's largest library of the health sciences, creates and sponsors Web-based health information resources for the public and professionals. The NIAID supports research to prevent, diagnose, and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, influenza, and tuberculosis; transplantation; and immune-related illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, asthma, and allergies. All three are components of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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