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Q: What is shingles?

Shingles is a reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, commonly known as chickenpox.  Most adults have been exposed to chickenpox as children and when their immune system declines due to illness or age, the virus reappears as a painful red rash known as shingles.  The shingles virus affects one nerve along one side of the body and it’s overlying strip of skin.  Shingles classically never crosses the midline of the body, which distinguishes it from other rashes.  It is typically quite painful and is described as a burning or electrical sensation.  The rash appears as a red raised blister, sometimes with a “dew drop” appearance on top.  If you suspect you have shingles, seek medical attention immediately.  Antiviral medications are most effective when started early and can prevent scarring or chronic nerve pain.  Medications specifically for nerve pain may also be prescribed to lessen these symptoms as the infection resolves.  A new vaccine has recently become available to prevent shingles and is approved for use in people age 50.  It is available through most pharmacies and may be covered in part through insurance.  Because shingles may recur, the vaccine is still recommended after an outbreak, but patients should wait approximately 6 months after the infection has resolved.  For more information, visit www.ebrownmd.com

Funerals for Sunday, September 15, 2019

Beckner, Frank - 1 p.m., Wilcoxen Funeral Home, Point Pleasant.

Blackburn, Mary - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Burns, Carrell - 2 p.m., Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.

Carper, Sonny - 2 p.m., Faith Baptist Church, Spencer.

Caudle Jr., John - 2 p.m., White Funeral Home, Summersville.

McCumbers, Virginia - 7 p.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation Inc., Arnoldsburg.

Roach, John - 3 p.m., Restoration Fellowship, Summerville.

Seals, Jacob - 2 p.m., Garrison Avenue Freewill Baptist Church, Charleston.

Stallman, Leonard - 2 p.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation Inc., Grantsville.

Taggart, MacKenzie-1 p.m., Emmanuel Baptist Church, Charleston.