Friday, 01 June 2012 
Los Alamitos, CA (June 2012) – Shingles is a disease caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chicken pox. About two in ten people will develop shingles during their lifetime. The virus stays dormant in the body until it is reactivated. Sometimes the virus is activated through stress or trauma; however, some research suggests that shingles also can run in families. Knowing your family history can allow you to be aware of the symptoms and effects of shingles.

The most obvious symptom of shingles is pain, accompanied by a rash. The rash begins with small, red bumps, which eventually become blisters. With treatment the rash goes away; however, the pain can last longer. In some cases, the pain associated with shingles can last days, months, or years after the rash disappears. To help with the pain your physician may suggest an over-the-counter medication. Medicated lotions or cool compresses may help reduce the pain and itching.

Shingles can be treated with antiviral medications prescribed by a physician. It is important to see a physician as soon as possible to determine the best method of treatment for you. If you are treated early for shingles, there is a greater possibility for complete recovery and less pain. Your doctor also may prescribe steroids to help with the swelling and pain.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the shingles vaccine for people age 60 and over, even if they have had prior episodes of shingles. As a result of shingles, serious health consequences can develop, and the risk or developing other problems rises after the age of 60. The vaccine may reduce the occurrence of shingles in older adults or at-risk families. For a free physician referral, call Los Alamitos Medical Center at 800-548-5559.


Opened in 1968, Los Alamitos Medical Center is a 167-bed acute care hospital located at 3751 Katella Ave in Los Alamitos. The medical center offers a wide range of programs for families and seniors. Medical services include a 24-hour emergency department, Birthing Center; cardiology, including a cardiac catheterization/angiography suite; oncology; respiratory; an on-site laboratory; MRI and open MRI; CT Scan; PET Scan; physical therapy; secured geropsychiatry unit, and others, in addition to educational lectures and support groups. The hospital is part of an integrated medical campus that includes three medical office buildings and the Total Care Pavilion. The Total Care Pavilion is home to the Total Care Cancer Center and Total Care Infusion Center and also has the Total Care Imaging Center. A Health Care Center located within the Seal Beach Leisure World community is part of the campus too. The hospital is fully accredited by the Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest hospital accreditation agency.

Two new service lines debuted in late 2011. The Total Care Breast Center services include two nurse navigators and a female medical director. They are located in the Total Care Pavilion and have comprehensive services that include high-risk assessment, diagnostic procedures, and genetics counseling and testing.

Wound Healing and Hyperbarics offers two hyperbaric chambers and a rotating staff of specialty physicians. They are dedicated to the comprehensive treatment of problematic wounds.

Los Alamitos Medical Center also has an online wait time clock for ER services, InQuickER service to the ER, and eight new patient treatment areas in an expanded ER department. The hospital is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to meet your health care needs.

To learn more about Los Alamitos Medical Center, visit