Herpes Zoster (also known as shingles) is caused by same virus that causes chicken pox. When initially infected with chicken pox, most children develop a rash, fever and a cough. These symptoms are generally mild, last for one to two weeks and are ultimately resolved. However, despite the fact that we "get over" the disease, the virus actually lies dormant and "hides" in the nerves around our spinal cord for the rest of our lives.
Shingles is the reactivation of the chicken pox virus. It is estimated that more than 1 million people will get shingles each year in the United States. Most of the patients at risk are over age 60. Nevertheless, shingles can occur in almost any age group. Most people who develop the disease tend to have a weakened immune system, are ill or are suffering from a great deal of stress.