• By Laurel J. Kelly

Housecall: Understanding shingles

October 2, 2017

a medical illustration of shinglesTHIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
Shingles: An overview
Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you've had chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles, causing a painful skin rash along nerve paths. If you're older than 50, your chance of developing shingles increases, but there is a vaccine that can lower your risk.

Transgender facts
Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe the spectrum of gender identity and gender expression diversity. It covers a range of gender identities and expressions that might fall outside of the idea that all people can be classified as only one of two genders: male or female (gender binary). Do you want to better understand what it means to be transgender? Here's a primer on the basics, as well as the definitions of common terms used to describe gender identity

EXPERT ANSWERS
When do early HIV symptoms first appear?
The first signs of HIV usually occur within a couple of weeks to a month or two after infection, and usually disappear within a week to a month. The symptoms are similar to those of other viral infections or a bad case of the flu. They may include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph glands, rash, sore joints or muscles, and sore throat. During this period, you are very infectious. More persistent or severe symptoms of HIV infection may not appear for several years after the initial infection. Learn more from Dr. James Steckelberg, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases expert.

Can some types of osteoporosis drugs hurt my bones?
Certain types of osteoporosis drugs have been associated with an increased risk of two rare, but serious, problems: osteonecrosis of the jaw and an unusual type of fracture in the upper thigh bone. The risk appears to increase with the length of time the drugs are taken. Learn more from Dr. Kurt Kennel, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist.

PLUS ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Menopause: Lifestyle and home remedies
Symptoms of traumatic brain injury
Video: Tai chi
Get the facts about chewing tobacco

HEALTHY RECIPES
Quinoa cakes
Honey sage carrots
Chicken sausage meatballs
Lemon pudding cakes

HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK
Stuffy nose? Try saline spray
Try saline nasal drops to relieve nasal congestion. You can buy these drops over the counter, and they're effective, safe and nonirritating. Also, they won't lead to the rebound congestion that sometimes follows the use of nasal decongestants.

Need practical advice on diet and exercise? Want creative solutions for stress and other lifestyle issues? Discover more healthy lifestyle topics at mayoclinic.org.

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