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National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Friday, October 8, 2004

Anne Decker

Shingles: A Replay of an Old Virus

Just when you think that childhood diseases were nothing more than a fuzzy memory — bang, 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 per cent of older Americans develop shingles during their lifetime.

To help seniors understand and cope with this disease, the National Institute on Aging 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 http://www.niapublications.org/engagepages/shingles.asp.

Information on a wide variety of healthy aging topics is available from NIA’s publications website at http://www.niapublications.org. You can also call the NIA Information Center at 1-800-222-2225 to request free print copies of materials.

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. Press releases, fact sheets, and other materials about aging and aging research can be viewed at the NIA’s general information website, http://www.nia.nih.gov.

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