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Skin care

Why do I keep getting shingles?

Question

Over the past eight years I have had shingles repeatedly – around 20 attacks now. I appreciate that having an autistic son does not help this condition but I am positive that my latest attack was not caused by stress. Do you have any idea why I keep getting shingles?

Answer

It is very unusual to have so many attacks of shingles and I wonder whether that is what you have or whether it could be recurrent herpes simplex. A blood test can help to determine which virus is causing your attacks. Either way, a course of oral antiviral treatment (acyclovir) should help to lessen the frequency and severity of attacks.

Stress can be a factor in allowing these herpes viruses to reactivate themselves and cause painful rashes. Impaired immunity can also contribute and if a course of oral antiviral treatment doesn’t prevent further attacks, you may want to have some blood tests to check your immune system or see a specialist to determine why you are so run down. Perhaps you need a respite break from caring for your autistic son and you may be able to speak to others involved in his care to find out whether this is possible.

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