Chances are you had a case of chickenpox as a child, but that virus can lead to shingles as an adult.
Symptoms are similar to chickenpox. If you catch shingles the best-case scenario is simply feeling discomfort. The worst-case scenario is debilitating pain that could last a lifetime.
Tina Crownover prides herself on never getting sick. Two years ago, however, she had a scare. "I had been hurting. I had back pain for about two days and so for me the pain was the most persistent symptom," she said.
After visiting the doctor, Crownover was diagnosed with shingles at 45 years old. She says after her diagnosis she was left with several questions. "I was confused. Why did I get shingles? What is shingles?" she asled.
News 5 checked with Dr. David Hensley and learned symptoms include aches, pains, fever, and then a painful and blistering rash that spreads. It's the same virus as chickenpox. "Chickenpox then migrates after you've had the disease into a part of the nervous system, part of the spinal cord," he explained.
Doctor Hensley says he usually treats shingles patients who are older. But anything can trigger the virus at any age, especially if you have a weakened immune system. "Generally it's recommended that we give people shingles shots after age 60," added Dr. Hensley.
You've probably noticed the push for a shingles vaccination. Dr. Hensley says it's a good idea to get one since there is a nearly five percent chance the virus could cause damage that will last a lifetime. "It's called Post Herpetic Neuralgia, PHN, and it's where the nerve that is involved gets so damaged and so irritated that it causes chronic severe unremitted pain," he said.
Nowadays children are vaccinated for chickenpox and doctors hope the virus will soon be a thing of the past.
Dr. Hensley also says if you have had a case of shingles before, you are at risk for developing it again.