Pain of shingles (herpes zoster) significantly interferes with daily life

Oct 04, 2010

Acute herpes zoster, or shingles, interferes with all health areas for people with the condition, including sleep, enjoyment of life and general activities, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Herpes zoster is a reactivation of the (varicella-zoster) virus which results in pain and a rash with small blisters. It occurs in people who have had chicken pox and is most common in people over the age of 50, although younger people can have the condition. The lifetime risk of developing is about 30%, but may increase as life expectancies increase.

Policymakers are being asked to consider implementing vaccination programs for the zoster vaccine which is available as a preventative tool but more information is needed about the impact of shingles.

The MASTER study (Monitoring and Assessing Shingles Through Education and Research) was conducted in Canada to provide an in-depth understanding of the impact of shingles. The multi-centre study involved outpatients recruited through or specialists across Canada.

"Acute herpes zoster significantly affected quality-of-life and functional status," writes Dr. Marc Brisson, Laval University, with coauthors. "Sleeping, enjoyment of life, general activities, mood, normal work and quality-of-life domains of pain/discomfort and usual activities were particularly diminished. This was consistently observed across all age groups."

The discomfort of shingles can also persist for months after the acute phase, with 24% of people in the study developing pain (postherpetic neuralgia) after the rash healed. The risk increased for older people.

The researchers conclude that this study reinforces "the need for effective prevention strategies, such as vaccination, and additional early intervention to reduce the burden of herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia."

Explore further: Obama addresses West Africans on facts about Ebola

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Childhood chicken pox could affect oral health years later

Feb 18, 2009

You may recall as a child catching the itchy red rash, chicken pox. The unsightly infection was caused by the varicella zoster virus and was responsible for nearly 4 million cases each year, according to the Centers for Disease ...

Oxycodone Effective Against Shingles Pain

Mar 27, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The painkiller oxycodone is effective at treating the acute pain of shingles, an illness that often causes severe pain which can become long-lasting and sometimes even permanent.

Recommended for you

Obama addresses West Africans on facts about Ebola

5 hours ago

President Barack Obama urged West Africans on Tuesday to wear gloves and masks when caring for Ebola patients or burying anyone who died of the disease. He also discouraged the traditional burial practice ...

Gluten-free diet benefits asymptomatic EmA+ adults

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Asymptomatic individuals with endomysial antibodies (EmA) benefit from a gluten-free diet (GFD), according to a study published in the September issue of Gastroenterology.

Another US health worker infected with Ebola

5 hours ago

A third American health worker has tested positive for the Ebola virus while working with patients in West Africa, the Christian missionary group SIM said Tuesday.

UN implores all countries to help on Ebola

7 hours ago

The international group Doctor Without Borders warned Tuesday that the world is 'losing the battle' against Ebola, while U.N. officials implored all countries to quickly step up their response by contributing health experts ...

Travel restrictions could worsen Ebola crisis: experts

12 hours ago

Travel restrictions could worsen West Africa's Ebola epidemic, limiting medical and food supplies and keeping out much-needed doctors, virologists said Tuesday as the disease continued its deadly spread.

User comments : 0