According to a research project report of the Bureau of Disease Control, Department of Health, Executive Yuan, the probability of Taiwanese getting shingles is 32.2%, that is, one out of every three people may have shingles “snake”, which is more severe than the flu or the new crown.
The chance of severe illness is higher! The common post-rash neuralgia of herpes zoster is more like a “long new crown”. Even if the skin lesions recover, it may still not recover from the disease and turn into a long-term chronic pain disease.
High-risk groups: 1/3 chance of getting shingles due to advanced age and weak immunity
The main cause of shingles is the reactivation of the chickenpox virus. Dr. Li Bingying, honorary chairman of the Taiwan Vaccine Promotion Association, said that there is at least a one-third chance of getting shingles in one’s life. Because of having chickenpox as a child, the varicella-zoster virus will remain dormant in the ganglia of the body for life. When you are old or your body’s immune function is poor and you cannot suppress the virus, the latent virus will wait for an opportunity to activate and distribute along the nerves.
, the spread of the disease, and eventually the appearance of blisters on the superficial skin, accompanied by severe pain.
Advanced age is an important risk factor for shingles, followed by immunodeficiency. In addition, patients with bone marrow transplantation and stem cell transplantation belong to a high-risk group because of their long-term use of immunosuppressants such as chemotherapy drugs and biological agents, which will affect their autoimmune function.
・Shingles is often accompanied by acute pain
・Occurs on one side of the body, along the nerve direction
・The lesions look like snake patterns, and are called “skin snakes”
・May cause headache, fatigue, mild fever and even leave a sequel “post-rash neuralgia”
Although herpes zoster rarely causes death, if it spreads to important nerve plexuses, such as cranio-ophthalmic nerve, facial nerve, etc., it may cause loss of life function, affect vision and hearing, or infect nerves near the buttocks It may also cause urinary incontinence and affect daily life.
Post-rash neuralgia may persist for years, causing depression and affecting quality of life
Li Bingying believes that post-rash neuralgia is the most serious complication of herpes zoster. Because the virus infects the nerves, it will cause damage to the nerves. Although the recovered herpes has dried up and scabbed, the underlying damaged nerves may still be very painful, making the patient unable to sleep well, leading to long-term insomnia, and even death due to long-term pain.
Depression seriously affects the quality of life. “It’s the kind of pain that makes people want to commit suicide,” Dr. Li said.
Post-rash neuralgia is like a new crown, and it is more common in diagnosed patients. Even if the skin lesions on the surface of herpes zoster are cured, about 30% of patients still cannot recover from the disease and continue to feel the pain of herpetic neuralgia. , the pain time can be as long as several months or even years, usually the older the pain, the longer the pain time.
Dr. Chen Zhirong, a professor-level attending physician in the Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases of Chang Gung, Linkou, said that usually more than half of patients over the age of 50 will have herpetic neuralgia after recovery, and suffer from long-term pain. Dr. Chen shared the process of her 20-year-old herpes zoster, “At first, half of the head was painful. Two days later, some blisters began to appear along the cranio-ophthalmic nerve and trigeminal nerve. It took about two weeks for the pain to heal slowly.
The pain The index is about 5-6 points on the scale, and the pain is so painful that you can’t sleep and need analgesic drugs.” In fact, before the onset of shingles, there is only pain, often inexplicable pain but no reason for it, because there is no skin lesion yet It is undiagnosable at this time, and it usually takes two days for the rash to appear, and its pattern of distribution along the nerve can be clearly diagnosed as shingles.
Early prevention to avoid virus activation Normal work and rest, not staying up late to maintain immunity
Immunity usually starts to decline at the age of 50, and shingles and post-rash neuralgia are diseases that are more likely to occur with age. Therefore, inactive vaccines are a good preventive method.
The goal of the vaccine is to prevent the occurrence of shingles, to help people over the age of 50 achieve 92% protection, to reduce the occurrence of viral activation, and to prevent post-rash neuralgia. more than 80%.
Because of the aging and modernization of society, there are many more opportunities for herpes zoster, which is closely related to immunity, to take advantage of it
. The prevention method related to immunity is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, let the daily routine be normal, not to stay up late, not to be overly fatigued, and not to turn day and night upside down.
Early vaccination of herpes zoster vaccine has the ability to inhibit the activation of the virus, and life is not afraid of acute and chronic pain from herpes zoster and post-rash neuralgia.