It is triggered by the chickenpox virus and causes reddening of the skin, blisters and itching: shingles (herpes zoster) affects every third adult in the course of their lives – and usually heals by itself after a few weeks. But it can also lead to chronic nerve pain. The German Brain Foundation points this out.
Around every tenth patient is affected by long-term burning pain (so-called post-herpetic neuralgia) on the upper body, arms, legs or face. Sometimes they also occur without the blisters on the skin that are typical of shingles. The disease can then be detected by antibodies against the virus in the blood.
If shingles is treated early, the symptoms can be shorter, according to the German Brain Foundation. It can be prevented with a vaccination. The Robert Koch Institute recommends them for those over 60. Anyone affected by chronic diseases such as diabetes should therefore be vaccinated against herpes zoster from the age of 50.
Anyone who has ever had shingles should still be vaccinated. As mentioned, a repeated infection cannot be ruled out. The health insurance companies cover the costs of the vaccination for those over 60 and those chronically ill over the age of 50.