In this article, Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic addresses common medical questions related to shingles, loss of taste due to COVID, and RSV vaccines for older adults.
Shingles: Duration and Pain
One question from Patty asks how long it takes to get through shingles, as she is experiencing pain and burning sensations three weeks into the condition. Dr. Bob explains that shingles is a reactivation of the varicella virus, which causes chickenpox. It primarily occurs in adults and manifests as a painful rash with blisters in a localized area of the body. The pain can be severe, sometimes mimicking symptoms of a heart attack when it affects the chest wall. While the blisters typically scab over within a week, pain can persist for days to weeks. Most individuals no longer experience pain after a couple of months, although some may develop chronic pain.
Loss of Taste and Smell Due to COVID
Chris asks if his sense of taste, which he lost due to COVID, will ever return. Dr. Bob acknowledges that taste and smell disruptions are common symptoms of COVID. Unfortunately, for some individuals, these symptoms persist even after other symptoms have resolved. It is still a developing area of research, making it challenging to predict the long-term outcome. However, seeking medical advice is recommended. Certain medical centers, such as the Cleveland Clinic, are exploring cutting-edge treatments for this issue.
RSV Vaccines for Older Adults
Josh inquires about getting RSV vaccines along with COVID and flu shots for older adults. RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, usually causes the common cold in most individuals. While it is primarily known to pose a risk to young children, recent attention has focused on its impact on older adults and the potential for hospitalization or death. Two RSV vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of symptomatic RSV infection, but their effects on hospitalization and death have not been definitively determined. Dr. Bob advises discussing the decision to get the RSV vaccine with a physician.
Definitions: Shingles – a reactivation of the varicella virus that causes chickenpox;
COVID – abbreviation for coronavirus disease 2019;
RSV – respiratory syncytial virus
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