Doctor's Notes on Shingles Symptoms and Treatment
Shingles (also termed herpes zoster) is a common, painful blister-forming rash that occurs in people who've had chickenpox in the past. Signs and symptoms of shingles are as follows: a reddish rash, usually on only one side of the body and/or face. The rash follows skin dermatomes (skin areas that follow a nerve distribution from the spine to the midline of the body). The painful rash has blisters that eventually burst and crust/scab over. Other signs and symptoms may include chills, fever, and fatigue. Unfortunately, some patients have the facial area involved and have facial pain, loss of eye motion, drooping eyelids, headaches, taste problems, and hearing loss. Others can develop PHN (postherpetic neuralgia) that is chronic pain lasting 6 or more weeks that may remain for months or years.
The cause of shingles is reactivation of chickenpox virus (varicella zoster or VSV), usually many years after the person had chickenpox. It is most common in adults over 60 or in immunosuppressed individuals. Reactivation is thought to be due to a reduction in immune surveillance mechanisms in the body.
What Are the Treatments for Shingles?
The best way to treat shingles is to prevent the disease by getting a vaccine to prevent this painful problem. Once you develop the symptoms, however, there is no cure but there are medications that may speed healing and reduce risks of complications.
- Antivirals (best effects with use early in infection)
- Pain control (very painful, sometimes debilitating severe pain)
If your eye is involved, seek an eye doctor immediately.
Shingles : Symptoms, Vaccine & Pictures QuizQuestion
Shingles is a painful rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.See Answer
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ShinglesShingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Initially, the virus causes chickenpox. The virus remains dormant in the body until the virus is reactivated by a trigger such as stress, fatigue, cancer, radiation treatments, injury, HIV/AIDS, or a weakened immune system. Symptoms include pain in a broad band on one side of the body, fever, chills, headache, itching, and a red, raised rash. Treatment may incorporate pain medication, applying cool compresses, and avoiding skin-to-skin contact with others.
Shingles Treatment and ComplicationsShingles can cause pain and rash, but symptoms can usually be controlled by pain medications and antiviral drugs. Learn about potential complications, treatment and prevention.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.