A By Kimberly Hayes Taylor O
ne day, just before Christmas two years ago, Marvin Winkfield suddenly felt like his face was burning off. He had never experienced the mysterious sensation before, and it got
increasingly worse. He had no idea what it could be. “The pain was like
Area physicians recommend
fire,” says the 62-year-old marketing consultant from Bloomfield Hills. “It felt like somebody was pinching me in the face or gouging me in the eye.”
He looked the same when he looked in the
mirror. But the burning, punching pain became so intense that he had to immediately see a doctor.
With one look, his doctor diagnosed him with shingles. He got a Prednisone prescription to help with the pain, and a couple days later, big, oozing sores appeared on the left side of his face.
What was this strange condition called Shingles? Winfield remembered
vaguely hearing the word before, but he really had no idea what it was and why it was causing him so much pain. He learned it was linked to the Chicken Pox he had when he was a child.
Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes
chicken pox. After the chicken pox goes away when we are attacked by it as children, it quietly hides along the nerves in the spinal cord and may reactivate when a person has a compromised immune system or is under high levels of stress. As people age, they are more susceptible to a bout with Shingles, and as in Winfield’s case it tingles or causes pain for a couple of days before eruptions.
“I didn’t know something like this
could take you down and be so painful.”
The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention reports that one in three people are affected by shingles, but there are a million new cases each year in the United States. About half of those cases occur in people 60 and older.
LivingWELL • October 2011
LivingWELL • August 2011 7
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