by Diana

Dear Ed: Like everyone else, I would like to thank you for the great web page. I recently learned how great I've had it all these years (15) of having psoriasis. I am 28, now; growing up with a mild-to-severe case of P was, until recently, one of the worst trials in my life -- which only points to how lucky I've been. I realized this last week when I developed my first case of shingles! No, I haven't taken up carpentry, but instead got this painful, angry rash on my back that is even sensitive to air. In any event, it makes my P look like a day at the beach (pardon the pun). So, just when you think you have it bad.... -Diana


Ed's Response:

Dear Diana: I've heard shingles is (are?) extremely painful. You drove me to my Encarta and, for the benefit of all, here's the low-down:

Herpes Zoster -- Known as shingles, this is a one-time recurrence of the symptoms of chicken pox, usually during adulthood. It is caused by the chicken pox virus attacking a sensory nerve. The skin over the nerve generally breaks out in blisters a few days after the onset of the disorder, which is accompanied by pain and frequent numbness or hypersensitivity along the course of the nerve, usually the trunk. The blisters are at first clear, but become cloudy within a few days and form crusts that dry up after five or ten days.

The skin manifestation of herpes zoster is not serious, but the pain caused by the inflammation of the underlying nerve can be severe, lasting for weeks....

Excerpted from: "Herpes," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 96 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1995 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. (c) Funk & Wagnalls Corporation. All rights reserved.

Those little viruses, again! The more we learn about them, the more fearsome they seem. I hope your case of shingles was preciously brief. -Ed

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