Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the virus that causes Chicken Pox (Varicella-Zoster).  If you have had Chicken Pox you will have virus 'hiding' in your nerve cells.  The virus will be with you for life.

The virus reactivates in some people and causes shingles.  We aren't sure why the virus reactivates in some people, but it happens more often in older people, people with suppressed immune systems (like people on chemotherapy or who have auto-immune problems like arthritis who take immune suppressing medicines), or people who have been putting their body under stress.

Shingles can be very painful, and usually starts off as a feeling of pain, burning, or tingling on the skin.  A rash usually develops a few days after these symptoms start.  In some people the rash doesn't appear at all. Although shingles usually affects the body, it can also affected the head or limbs.  One unusual sign of shingles is that the rash occurs in a confined area that doesn't cross the centerline of the body.  

In some people shingles can cause an on going problem call Postherpetic neuralgia.  This is where the virus damages the nerve cells and causes them to fire inappropriately.  We feel this as pain, and it can persist for months after the shingles outbreak has resolved.  

If you have a out break of shingles it's important to start treatment as soon as possible.  Early treatment also reduces the risk of postherpetic neuralgia.  We can supply you with prescription anti-viral medications.  You will need to have a consultation with one of our qualified Pharmacists.  We can do Zoom consultations if needed too. 

The best way of preventing Shinges is getting vaccinated.  For more information on the shingles vaccine click here (a new window will open).  It's free if you start the course in your 65th year.

If you think you have shingles, or have any questions please feel free to call us on 06-358-7788


Cook Street Pharmacy Shop

We’re a small family run Pharmacy in Palmerston North. We pride ourselves on looking after our patients and customers needs. If you need health and well being advice for yourself, or your family feel free to drop in and talk to one of our staff.