It’s often thought of as a virus that only affects the elderly, but anyone who has had the chicken pox can get singles at any age.
Channel 3’s own Kim Lucey recently came down with a case of the singles and was out sick for a few days.
She recently learned about a new treatment to help people from suffering the pain.
Heather Cohen had shingles in her 30s, and was shocked when she came down with it.
"Shingles never crossed my mind. Shingles is something my parents would get, my grandparents would get. I wouldn't expect at 33 years old I’d be diagnosed with shingles,” Cohen said.
Doctors said if you have had the chicken pox, it can happen.
The virus stays dormant in your system until your immune system can’t suppress it anymore, and it comes out as shingles.
"It is a debilitating pain in many situations,” said Dr. Ricardo Taboada, of Hartford Healthcare.
Taboada said that’s why it is so common in older people, because their immune systems start to weaken.
They are still not sure what brings it out in younger people, but stress can play a factor. Plus, you can get it more than once.
"Most of the time it's going to be, 90 percent of the time if you do get it again, it's going to be along the same distribution where you had it before,” Taboada said.
Kim got shingles on her back.
For Hartford Healthcare patient Lillian, it was on her head. She is in that "most likely to get shingles" age group, and she got them about four years ago, and that debilitating pain didn’t go away and she’s been suffering for four years.
"Nothing really seemed to help,” Lillian said.
She and her daughter Charlene Harrison live in North Attleboro, Mass., but a friend saw a Medical Rounds segment on Channel 3 talking about laser treatment to alleviate shingles pain, and told them about it.
Now they have been driving two hours each way for treatments twice per week, and despite those miles on the road, they are so grateful for some relief.
"You think, somewhere out there in the world there's got to be something. This was the answer to prayers,” Charlene Harrison said.
There is a vaccine for shingles, and the FDA has approved it for anyone over 50, but the doctor said it’s really not recommended until you hit 60.
If you’ve already had shingles you can still get the vaccine.
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