The long-lasting condition that may come from holiday stress

You often hear the holidays referred to as “the most wonderful time of the year,” but the truth is, they can also be pretty stressful. There’s traveling to do, guests to welcome, events to plan, presents to buy and calendars to coordinate. All of this additional stress can have a negative impact on your health, and you may not realize there is a possible link between stress and the onset of an incredibly painful disease known as shingles.

Nearly one in three Americans will develop shingles, and the condition is experienced by almost 1 million Americans a year. The disease can appear at any age, but the likelihood of contracting the disease increases as people age. Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus. Even though most people easily recover from chickenpox, the chickenpox virus goes into “hibernation” inside nerve cells. Later in life, the chickenpox virus can re-activate and cause shingles. If you had chickenpox, or were in direct contact with children, or others, who were sick with chickenpox, you are at risk of getting shingles.

Shingles first presents itself as pain, which can be a burning or tingling sensation in one part of the body. From there, a painful rash with blisters will develop in the same area. For many people this is their first realization they may have shingles.

“For most people, recognizing they have shingles is very difficult to do,” says Dr. Richard Lorraine, who is recruiting shingles patients for a shingles clinical trial. You can learn more by visiting GotShingles.com. “Many people simply feel pain, but without any physical signs of disease, it’s hard to guess you may have shingles.”

“My advice is if you are experiencing burning or tingling sensations, you should visit with your doctor immediately,” says Dr. Lorainne. “Adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach is one of the worst things a potential shingles patient can do. The longer you wait to seek treatment the more severe the disease could become.”

If you are experiencing shingles, there may be an option you could consider. The FV-100 shingles clinical trial is currently enrolling patients to test an investigational drug for shingles that is designed to prevent the long-lasting pain, known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) experienced by many people who have shingles.

To take part in the trial you must:

* Be 50 years of age or older.

* Able to receive the first dose of study medication within 72 hours of the shingles rash appearing.

* Have shingles pain in the last 24 hours.

* Have not received the shingles vaccine.

There are currently no drug treatments that help reduce a patient’s chances of developing long-lasting PHN pain, but new research will hopefully change that. PHN pain can last for months or even years after the shingles rash has healed and can have a very negative impact on a person’s quality of life. If you are experiencing burning or tingling pain, contact your doctor immediately — it’s an important first step to stop that holiday stress from turning into something so much worse.

To take part in the FV-100 shingles clinical trial, you must be able to receive your first dose of medication within three days of the shingles rash appearing, so don’t delay. Learn more about the trial, your eligibility and shingles in general at GotShingles.com.


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