Whether it's called shingles or "St. Anthony's Fire," a vivid testament to this skin disorder's intensely painful red rash and blisters, new treatment options are offering hope for millions of Americans with this condition.
The varicella zoster virus that causes shingles is a member of the herpes virus family and is the same virus that causes chickenpox. While your chances of getting shingles increase as you get older, the disease can occur at any age and is no longer a disorder of the elderly. Up to 20 percent of people in the United States develop the disease at some point, and this year more than 500,000 people will develop shingles, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Shingles is more common in people with weakened immune systems from HIV infection, chemotherapy and stress. In fact, shingles is most commonly caused by stress and afflicts people of all walks of life, from professionals to politicians to celebrities.
The first sign of shingles is often burning or tingling pain, or itch, in one particular location on one side of the body. Within days, a rash of fluid-filled blisters appears. The disorder often appears on the face, scalp, shoulders, back or stomach. While outbreaks can last for weeks, shingles often remains a "hidden" disease due to the shame and debilitating pain associated with it.
Though you can't cure a herpes virus like the one that causes shingles, you can take steps to eliminate the embarrassment and discomfort this condition can cause in everyday activities. A new over-the-counter treatment from Aeura offers new hope for managing the symptoms of shingles.
This sublingual medicine targets the cause of the disease by boosting the body's immune system. A natural alternative to prescription drugs, it has no known side effects and doesn't conflict with other medications. It can be taken daily, at the first signs of an outbreak or anytime throughout.
Aeura is available at CVS, Meijer, Brooks/Eckerd, Pharmaca and other pharmacies nationwide. For more information on shingles, visit www.aeura.com.