Shingles is an incredibly painful condition caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Unfortunately, those who suffered through chicken pox as a child are at risk of developing shingles later in life. This is because the virus can lay dormant, reactivating when the conditions are right for the virus to thrive. Because of those unique conditions, the question is often asked, “Are shingles caused by stress?”

What are the Risk Factors?

In general, shingles affect older portions of the population, as it depends on a weakened immune system to rear its ugly head. Those who have immune deficiencies, are currently undergoing cancer treatments, or are currently prescribed steroids are at an increased risk. Anyone who has had chickenpox is a potential candidate for shingles.

A great preventative, though, is receiving the chicken pox vaccine as a child or the shingles vaccine as an adult.

If you had chicken pox as a child, it might be appropriate to speak with your doctor about preventative measures.

What are the Symptoms?

Generally speaking, the first symptom of shingles is intense pain. This is usually localized to one area on one side of your body. Other symptoms include:

  • Development of an itchy red rash
  • Blisters
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Shingles can be particularly dangerous if the rash develops near the eyes. Untreated shingles near the eye can cause permanent damage to your vision.

Are Shingles Caused By Stress?

The answer to that question is… not exactly. Stress does not directly cause shingles, but it can be a contributing factor.

When you are stressed, your body’s immune system may weaken. This is especially true for those who experience intense stress, such as a major life change or a death in the family. Chronic stress also opens the door for shingles to re-activate. Reducing stress is one preventative measure that you can take to decrease your risk.

Caring for every part of your body is an excellent way to take a burden off your shoulders. Working with caring, professional dermatologists can help you avoid stress triggers, like acne breakouts and dealing with other frustrating skin conditions.

If you suspect that you have shingles, get in touch with your dermatologist right away. Together, you can craft a treatment plan that relieves symptoms and reduces pain.