What causes a shingles recurrence?


Quick Answer

A recurrence of shingles most often happens to the elderly, people with weakened immune systems or patients who delay treatment, according to WebMD. Patients who have extended periods with the disease, 60 days or more, are five times as likely to have a recurrence. A reawakened virus causes numbness, itching, severe pain and sometimes fever, headaches and chills three to five days before the blistering rash reappears.

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Full Answer

Shingles is most often seen on the torso or the face. Initial symptoms are vague and often mistaken for another illness. They include burning or shooting pain, numbness, tingling or itching and mild, flu-like symptoms. If there is a recurrence, it tends to appear in another part of the body, sometimes many years after the initial episode, according to The National Shingles Foundation. Since shingles is caused by the virus that is responsible for chicken pox, a person who has never had chicken pox will not be a candidate for shingles. However, chicken pox can occur in a mild form that isn't diagnosed. Most people who seem to be having multiple episodes of shingles may be infected with a related form of herpes zoster and not true shingles. One after-effect of shingles is post-herpetic neuralgia, which can cause long-lasting nerve pain and depression.

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