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What causes shingles in adults over the age of 50?

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Posted on Fri, 11 Jul 2014
Question: Please help,I'm 57 years old an have come down with a very mild case of shingles on my chest and back,the pain was mild, and the back was much larger in 2 different spots and no pian or discomfit at all,I've heard shingles in younger people can indicate something much more serious,at 57 should I be concerned,is it common at 57?
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Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (14 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Herpes Zoster

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome to healthcaremagic

I am Dr. Kakkar. I have gone through your query and I have understood it.

Herpes commonly affects the older age group (> 50 years) as the immunity to it gradually wanes by old age.

Herpes Zoster, is due to viral reactivation of the same virus which causes chicken pox(Varicella zoster virus) in childhood. This virus resides in the spinal ganglion and can travel down the nerve later in life (in old age, as the immunity wanes) to cause eruption of painful fluid filled vesicles, usually localized to a dermatome (arranged in a strip on one side of the body).

The eruption is associated with pain and burning sensation.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Kakkar S. (7 hours later)
The rash was small and localized,I'm sure it was shingles,at the same time I got 2 small red patches of rash on my back,at first I thought it was also shingles but there was no pain or discomfort,I also get these dark red pimple like dots that are raised,the shingles and red patches seem to healed but only to a point,then they seem to have stopped healing,I also have lymph node swelling near the groin,and a whiteness on the back of the tongue.I regret to say but I think I'm HIV can you confirm?,I can't get tested for another 3 weeks,I'm over sea's on a work boat,to be released back to the U.S I'd have to have a physical,I'm afraid HIV will be discovered,an denied a re-entry visa and lose my job.I did have a high risk encounter about 8 weeks ago,symptoms started to show about 10 days ago
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (8 hours later)
Brief Answer:
HIV testing

Detailed Answer:
Hi.

I cannot confirm HIV based on these signs and symptoms that you have developed, because these symptoms and signs are not exclusive to HIV and can happen otherwise.

However, since you had a high risk contact, therefore you must get tested for HIV to put your mind at ease

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Kakkar S.

Dermatologist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 9482 Questions

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What causes shingles in adults over the age of 50?

Brief Answer: Herpes Zoster Detailed Answer: Hello and welcome to healthcaremagic I am Dr. Kakkar. I have gone through your query and I have understood it. Herpes commonly affects the older age group (> 50 years) as the immunity to it gradually wanes by old age. Herpes Zoster, is due to viral reactivation of the same virus which causes chicken pox(Varicella zoster virus) in childhood. This virus resides in the spinal ganglion and can travel down the nerve later in life (in old age, as the immunity wanes) to cause eruption of painful fluid filled vesicles, usually localized to a dermatome (arranged in a strip on one side of the body). The eruption is associated with pain and burning sensation. Regards