Opinion

Here is the difference between chickenpox and shingles

Alex Rios.
Alex Rios. File photo

There was some discussion Tuesday among fans that the Royals players who contracted chickenpox actually have shingles.

They do not.

Here is a primer on the difference between chicken pox and shingles.

▪ According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever. The CDC said “chickenpox spreads easily from infected people to others who have never had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine. Chickenpox spreads in the air through coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread by touching or breathing in the virus particles that come from chickenpox blisters.”

▪ The rash and pain from shingles occurs with the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, which hangs out in nerve cells and can wake up in times of stress and immune suppression and as people age. For those who get the worst of it, shingles can bring pain like they’ve never had. According to the Mayo Clinic, “shingles is most common in people older than 50. The risk increases with age. Some experts estimate that half the people 80 and older will have shingles.”

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @pgrathoff.

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