Shingles (called herpes zoster) is an infection that is producing fluid-filled blisters’ severe painful skin eruption. Shingles are resulted from the same herpes virus, called varicella-zoster Shinglesvirus, that results in chickenpox.

The varicella-zoster virus infection, which can be in the chickenpox form ends with the virus entering the nerve in the ganglia (cell bodies nerve group) of cranial or spinal nerves and remains latent there. Shingles always limit the person’s skin dermatomes (nerve roots involved) distribution. The herpes zoster infection can never result in symptoms again or it can be repeated many years later. Shingles happens when the virus is reccured.

In some cases, reccuring happens when the immunity of body is decreased by another disorders, such as Hodgkin’s disease or AIDS; or by medications, impairing the immune system. The Shingles appearence does not generally means that a serious disease is underway. Shingles can happen at any age, but it is most likely to occur after 50 years old age.

Symptoms, such as fever, chills, ill feeling, urination difficulties, diarrhea or nausea the three or four days before shingles progress. Some people feel itching or tingling sensations, or pain. Small fluid blisters clusters surrounded by a red small part develop. Most frequently, blisters occur on the trunk and commonly on only 1 side. However, several blisters can occur elsewhere in the body as well. The affected body areas are generally sensitive to very light touch and can be extremely painful. The blister start to dry and scab approx. five days after it appears. Unless scabbing happens, the blister consists of herpes zoster virus, which may result in chickenpox if transmitted to susceptible individuals. A blister that persist for more than two weeks or that cover large skin areas, commonly show the body’s immune system is not working properly. One Shingles attack usually gives an individual lifelong body’s immunity from next attacks; less than 4% of individuals experience future attacks.

Most individuals recover without any lasting side effects, however, skin scarring, which may be extensive, can happen even if an individual does not progress a secondary bacterial infections. Facial nerve branch involvement to the person’s eye may be considerably serious. A dermatologist can experience troubles diagnosing Shingles before the blisterĀ  appears, but the initial pain location in a vague band on 1 side of the person’s body may be a clue. Based on the nerve involved, the pain can resemble that resulted from large intestine inflammation, gallstone or kidney stone, or appendicitis. The blister created by Shingles can be almost identical to that created by herpes simplex. If needed, laboratory tests can be done to confirm the Shingles diagnosis.

The effective herpes zoster treatment still is not known. Neither antiserum consisting of high antibodies to varicella-zoster infection, nor corticosteroid are effective on shingles once it starts. No medication may eliminate the virus. However, antiviral medications including famciclovir or acyclovir can be prescribed to shorten skin eruption duration, especially in individuals with an impaired immune systems. Keeping the person’s skin clean is very important to prevent secondary bacterial infection. Codeine or aspirin can subside pain temporarily and may be helpful if pain interferes with sleep or activities. However, aspirin must be avoided in children, because of the risks of getting Rey’s syndrome.

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