Factors that Effect Your Chance of Getting Shingles Disease

Over the years, the number of people that experience outbreaks of shingles disease is expected to rise. Because chicken pox and shingles disease come from the same virus, the immunity to chicken pox plays a crucial role in preventing shingles disease. Unfortunately, even though most people recover after a few weeks, the virus, Herpes Zoster, is never completely erradicated from the body. Instead, it tricks the immune system, and lodges in the nerve cells. It will stay there until some unknown factor induces it to travel back to the skin and cause a new outbreak of illness. Therefore, having had chicken pox in the past is a primary indicator that you may develop shingles disease sometime in the future.In addition, people are living longer lives, and thus reaching an age where their immune systems have a harder time suppressing the pathogen. Frequently, people that are taking medications that suppress the immune system may experience a recurrence of shingles disease. As an example, someone that receives an organ transplant, or is on a chemotherapy agent may find themselves coping with this additional health burden.Interestingly enough, exposure to children or other people with current outbreaks of chicken pox, or shingles disease does not trigger a recurrence. Some researchers actually speculate that adult level immunity to Herpes Zoster is the direct result of exposure to children that have ongoing outbreaks of chicken pox. As more children get immunized, therefore, fewer adults will have an opportunity to build up their immunity to shingles disease. Unfortunately, it is not yet known if immunized children will have an increased chance of developing shingles disease later in life. Finally, the age at which you first experience chicken pox may have an effect on if, and how many times you will develop shingles disease later on in life. As an example, infants that develop chicken pox are more likely to develop more instances of shingles disease throughout their lives. Depending on the stage of pregnancy during which shingles disease appears, some immunity may be conferred to the fetus. Because chicken pox is highly contagious, usually once one child in a classroom catches it, everyone else does. That said, there are people that do not get chicken pox until they reach adulthood. Unfortunately, along with increased severity of symptoms, these people also have an increased chance of recurring shingles disease episodes later on. Some medical professionals have also observed that these outbreaks may be more severe than those experienced by people that had chicken pox as a routine childhood illness. While modern medical researchers cannot prevent an outbreak of shingles disease, they do have some ideas about what inhibits them. Among other things, the age at which you got chicken pox may play a role in how well, and for how long your immune system can suppress the virus. In addition, repeated exposure to people with shingles disease or chicken pox may also help the adult immune system keep a sufficient level of antibodies.