Shingles: Up Close and Personal 360-degree Virtual Reality Video

Get an up-close look at shingles and how it affects the human body in this 360-degree virtual reality video. Watch how shingles moves from nerve fibers to the skin to cause a painful, blistering rash.

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NARRATOR: This is a virtual reality enabled video. Use your mouse if you're on a computer, or finger if you're on your phone to move around.
Shingles can occur anywhere on the body, but typically affects only one side of the torso.
Often, it is confined to a single stripe that wraps around the trunk or waist. Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster
virus or VZV, which is the same virus that causes chicken pox. If you've had chicken pox before,
then the virus is already in your body, lying dormant in your nerve cells. Later in life it can emerge again in the form of shingles.
Once awoken, the virus travels along the nerve fibers to the skin. Skin is made up of three protective layers;
the outer epidermis, the middle dermis, and the inner hypodermis.
Blood vessels and nerves branch out throughout these layers. Blood vessels nourish the skin, while nerves provide sensation
to the skin. The virus follows nerves to the epidermis, resulting in a painful rash, usually
with fluid filled blisters. It is the fluid from these blisters that is contagious to people who have not had chicken pox.
Once these blisters crust over, there is no more risk for spreading the virus. Doctors aren't sure what triggers it,
but people with aging immune systems are at a higher risk of experiencing a shingles outbreak. The only way to potentially prevent shingles
is to get vaccinated. So if you are over 50, talk with your doctor about what options are available to you.
In addition to the stabbing pain, itching or tingling people can also experience fever, chills,
headache, and upset stomach. Shingles can take two to four weeks to clear up, so be sure to cover up the rash.
Don't touch or scratch the blisters, and wash your hands frequently.

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