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

Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - Page 11

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.

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)

如果以為俗稱皮蛇的「帶狀皰疹」是老年人的專利,可就大錯特錯了!醫師表示,臨床上不僅有小學生因準備課業,而長出皮蛇,近年上班族壓力大,晚上又捨不得睡看劇、打candy,一樣可能讓病毒伺機而動。

皮膚科醫師趙昭明指出,早年皮蛇患者幾乎一半以上超過五十歲,但近年有不少年輕人罹患,甚至連小學生也有罹患。一名在外商公司工作的年輕女性,平時工作緊張、好不容易湊到三天假,卻夜夜不睡、盡情玩樂,恢復上班一週就冒出皰疹。

皮蛇發作初期、很多人會誤以為是其他疾病,甚至有病患以為是過敏,拖了一週才就醫,就診時已錯過使用抗病毒藥物的時機。

台灣老年學暨老年醫學會秘書長張皓翔指出,皮蛇發生風險與年齡老化相關,以台灣來說,到八十歲,約三分之一可能罹患過帶狀皰疹,其中近一半可能會留下令人痛不欲生的後遺症─帶狀皰疹後神經痛。

此外,長在額頭及眼周的帶狀皰疹,可能侵犯眼部、影響視力,若侵犯到第八對腦神經,還可能影響聽力。因此,病毒侵犯這些器官時,健保會給付抗病毒藥物。

除需注意生活規律、不要熬夜,適度調節壓力,此外,均衡飲食維持身體免疫力正常,才能遠離皮蛇上身。

(自由時報記者洪素卿)