Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - Page 11 News List

Shingles not only afflicting the elderly
熬夜看劇、忙消糖 小心皮蛇找上你

A doctor at Tungs’ Taichung MetroHarbor Hospital points to a picture of a patient with shingles in Greater Taichung on Aug. 11, 2010.

Photo: Ou Su-mei, Liberty Times

It is a huge mistake to assume that herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles, only occurs among old people. Doctors say that, aside from children who are studying too much being treated for shingles, in recent years office workers are also getting shingles because they stay up late watching TV dramas or playing Candy Crush Saga, which gives the virus ample opportunity to strike.

Dermatologist Chao Chao-ming says that more than half of his patients being treated for shingles in the past were usually over the age of 50, but that in recent years many young people are getting shingles, including elementary school students. One young female employee working for a foreign trading company, typically under a lot of pressure at work, was finally able to get three days off from work, but after staying up every night having fun she eventually got shingles after returning to work for a week.

Many people mistake shingles for another virus when it first infects them, or even assume it is caused by allergies, and after waiting another week before going to the doctor they miss the opportunity to use antiviral drugs to treat the virus.

Taiwan Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics secretary-general Chang Hao-hsiang says that the risk of shingles increases with age. Around a third of people in Taiwan over the age of 80 have had shingles and nearly half of them will experience postherpetic neuralgia — excruciating nerve pain caused by damage to the nerves from the virus.

If shingles infects the forehead or the area surrounding the eyes, it can do damage to the eyes and affect one’s eyesight, and if it infects the auditory vestibular nerve it can damage your hearing, so that is why the National Health Insurance program provides antiviral drugs when the virus infects these organs.


1. allergy n.

過敏 (guo4 min3)

例: Most food allergies are caused by milk, fish, eggs or nuts.


2. eyesight n.

視力 (shi4 li4)

例: Barry’s eyesight is terrible. He can’t see anything without his glasses.


3. keep at bay idiom

不使迫近;牽制 (bu4 shi3 po4 jin4; qian1 zhi4)

例: Economists hope the economy will slow down enough to keep inflation at bay.


Besides making sure you keep a regular lifestyle and do not stay up late at night, it is also important to regulate stress and maintain a balanced diet to keep your body’s immune level normal and keep shingles at bay.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)








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