If you happen to see a blister on the tip of your nose, get yourself to the doctor right away. It could be shingles, and it could cost you your sight, according to doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital.
If you’ve never had shingles, consider yourself lucky. Those who have say it’s one of the most painful experiences of their lives.
Shingles involves pain, itching, or tingling of the skin, with a painful rash of blister-like sores, usually on one side of the body, often on the torso or face. Nearly 1 in 3 people in the U.S. will develop shingles, according to the CDC. Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox — varicella zoster virus.
After people recover from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the body and can reactivate many years later, leading to shingles. Nearly all Americans born before 1980 have had chickenpox, the CDC says. Besides the rash, there can be headache, chills, fever and upset stomach. About 10 percent of those who get shingles have persistent nerve pain for months or even years after being affected.
The good news is there’s a new vaccine for anyone 50 or older that can prevent shingles.
Dr. Dan Aires, head of dermatology at The University of Kansas Health System, described shingles and how it occurs. He also explained the differences between the old and new vaccines, and how the new two-shot vaccine regimen raises the effectiveness from about 50 percent with the old vaccine to 90 percent with the new.
He also warned that a blister on the tip of the nose is a medical emergency, it could be a sign the virus may be invading the area around the eyes, leading to blindness.
For more information on this topic, visit http://www.medicalnewsnetwork.org/NewsNetwork/DocTalk/S/Why%20a%20Blister%20on%20The%20Tip%20of%20Your%20Nose%20is%20a%20Medical%20Emergency.
Measles cases on the rise
Back in 2010, the measles was considered eliminated in the United States. But the disease is making a comeback, and the consequences could be dire for some children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 228 cases of measles in 12 states so far this year, on track to be a record-breaking year. The cases are linked to unvaccinated American travelers bringing measles back into the U.S. from other countries where large measles outbreaks are occurring, such as Israel and Ukraine, the CDC said.
Public health officials blame the outbreaks on more and more families choosing not to have their children vaccinated because of a spread of misinformation online and on social media about the risks and effectiveness of vaccines. The CDC considers the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, to be safe and effective.
Dr. Dana Hawkinson is an infectious disease specialist at The University of Kansas Health System. He recently discussed the dangers of the measles, which in some cases can include pneumonia, spinal cord infection and even death.
He described the symptoms of the disease, and how the number of cases has risen tenfold in the past decade. He said the vaccine has been proven safe and effective after decades of use.
For more information on measles, visit http://www.medicalnewsnetwork.org/NewsNetwork/DocTalk/M/Measles%20Cases%20on%20the%20Rise
- Information from University of Kansas Hospital