Medical Q & A From Dr. Besser

Q: I have a question about shingles. What is it? What causes it? And How can it be treated?

Thanks, Ann T.

Shingles is due to a reactivation of the virus that causes Chicken Pox. Chicken pox is caused by a
virus called Herpes Zoster, which is not the same “herpes” that
everyone talks about.  The virus that causes genital herpes is actually
called Herpes Simplex.  But, back to Shingles.  When you have chicken
pox as a child the virus does not leave your body but becomes dormant and
inactive and hides deep in the nerves.  In some people, under certain
stressful situations-or if their immunity isn’t as good as it should be- the
virus activates “wakes up” if you will, and causes a very painful
rash. Unlike Chicken pox,where the rash is all over the body, Shingles is
isolated in one area- the area that the nerve it was hiding in supplies. 
Unfortunately, with Shingles, once you have it, you might have another outbreak,
but if you do it will always occur in the same spot.  Treating Shingles is
done with an oral anti-viral medication (such as Acyclovir or
Valacyclovir).  It is best to start the medication within 48 hours of the
outbreak.  These medications don’t kill the virus (unlike antibiotics that
kill bacteria) but they do shorten the length of the outbreak and minimize the
outbreak.

2.     I had mono when I was 16. I’m now 25. Is it
possible for me to get mono again?

– Ted

Ted-

You can’t get Mono again but there are many other viruses that can cause similar
symptoms so its possible you may get one of those and feel as though you have
mono again

My daughter gets frequent nosebleeds. Any idea what’s causing this
or how to make them stop for good? There are many causes for frequent
nosebleeds, from allergies that cause the nose to be constantly irritated, to a
bleeding disorder to your child just “picking” her nose too
much.  You need to take your daughter to her pediatrician or family
physician and have her evaluated to determine the cause of her nose
bleeds.  Only then will you be able to find a way to stop them. Your
family physician or pediatrician may recommend a consultation with an ENT
physician to further evaluate your daughters nosebleeds.

– Kelly

Kelly-

There are many causes for frequent nosebleeds, from allergies that cause the nose to
be constantly irritated, to a bleeding disorder to your child just
“picking” her nose too much.  You need to take your daughter to
her pediatrician or family physician and have her evaluated to determine the
cause of her nose bleeds.  Only then will you be able to find a way to
stop them. Your family physician or pediatrician may recommend a consultation
with an ENT physician to further evaluate your daughters nose bleeds.

(All questions are answered and addressed by Susan Besser, MD. If you have further questions or concerns with medical conditions, please come by Doctors Express-Memphis so that we can get you back to yourself again….To Your Health!)

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