Diseases Diseases

How To Deal With Shingles Diseases

What is Shingles Disease?

Herpes zoster, otherwise known as shingles, affects millions of people in the Unites States every year.  Occurring as the second attack of chickenpox, it is characterized with painful red rash that turns into blisters which contains a clear fluid. Like chickenpox, shingles is caused by varicella zoster virus (VZV) that stayed dormant in the body after a previous chickenpox infection. Chickenpox usually occurs during childhood. Later in life, if the immune system becomes compromised, the virus can reactivate and come again in the form of shingles zoster. The immune system can be compromised when the person experiences prolonged stress, has HIV/AIDS, takes anti rejection medications, and undergoes chemotherapy.

What are the symptoms of Shingles Disease?

The symptoms vary according to the nerves involved, thus, shingles can affect many parts of the body. Most often, the first symptom starts as a gross sensitivity or pain on one side of the body. This can be felt as tingling, burning, itching, continuous aching or sharp, deep pain that resembles a “lightning bolt”. One to three days after the onset of pain, the red rash and blisters appear on the same area where the pain is felt. They become filled with pus and by about ten to twelve days, they form scabs. In the next two to three weeks, the rash disappears and scabs fall off possibly leaving scars on the skin.

How to Deal With The Symptoms of Shingles?

The discomfort felt with shingles can be very devastating to the person affected. Pain and antiviral medications are needed to manage the symptoms. Antivirals are needed to be taken within 72 hours from the appearance of symptoms before it is too late. Pain in shingles is chronic lasting from 6 months even to years. Corticosteroids like prednisone combined with acyclovir can reduce the pain by decreasing the inflammation in the nerves brought about by active infection. For mild pain, over-the-counter analgesics can be effective to counteract the pain. For severe pain, narcotics may be needed. Calamine lotion when applied combat pain by seeping blisters and capsaicin cream is used for pain when blisters have already crusted.

Hints and Tips

Since shingles attack millions of people every year, it is important for every one to be aware of its symptoms and the necessary steps to alleviate these symptoms. Once you feel the symptoms mentioned above, you have to call your health care provider immediately for a proper diagnosis and treatment. He can prescribe antivirals and pain medications for your condition.
If not given proper care, complications such as Herpes Zoster Keratitis (eye shingles) and Postherpetic Neuralgia may arise. In case this happens, medical treatment should be sought right away and this is an emergent case. Eye shingles can cause temporary or permanent blindness. Shingles commonly affects people in their 60s and older. A history of chickenpox predisposes you to have shingles. On the other hand, if you haven’t had chickenpox before or have never been vaccinated against it, avoid people who have or suspected to have shingles, unless you want to get infected too! So you must be causious.
By Greggy Rick Go, published at 12/31/2011
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