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Also called: Herpes zoster, Postherpetic neuralgia

Shingles is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus – the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the virus stays in your body. It may not cause problems for many years. As you get older, the virus may reappear as shingles. Although it is most common in people over age 50, anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk.

You can’t catch shingles from someone who has it. However, if you have a shingles rash, you can pass the virus to someone who has never had chickenpox. This would usually be a child, who could get chickenpox instead of shingles. The virus spreads through direct contact with the rash, and cannot spread through the air.

Early signs of shingles include burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching, usually on one side of the body or face. The pain can be mild to severe. Rashes or blisters appear anywhere from one to 14 days later. If shingles appears on your face, it may affect your vision or hearing. The pain of shingles may last for weeks, months, or even years after the blisters have healed.

There is no cure for shingles. Early treatment with medicines that fight the virus may help. These medicines may also help prevent lingering pain.

A vaccine may prevent shingles or lessen its effects. The vaccine is recommended for people 60 or over. In some cases doctors may give it to people ages 50 to 59.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Also called: TN, Tic douloureux

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a type of chronic pain that affects your face. It causes extreme, sudden burning or shock-like pain. It usually affects one side of the face. Any vibration on your face, even from talking, can set it off. The condition may come and go, disappearing for days or even months. But the longer you have it, the less often it goes away.

TN usually affects people over 50, especially women. The cause is probably a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve, one of the largest nerves in the head. Tumors and multiple sclerosis can also cause TN, but in some cases the cause is unknown.

There is no single test to diagnose TN. It can be hard to diagnose, since many other conditions can cause facial pain. Treatment options include medicines, surgery, and complementary techniques.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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