- by BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals
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- Dec 11 2017
SHINGLES: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS & TREATMENT- Dr. Rashmi.
Shingles or herpes zoster is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. It most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso, once in a lifetime
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is also responsible for chickenpox. If you have had chickenpox, you may develop shingles.
After you recover from chickenpox, the virus may enter your nervous system where it lies dormant and may eventually reactivate, producing shingles. But it is not necessary that everyone who has had chickenpox will develop shingles. Also few people with shingles might not have had chickenpox earlier (Subclinical infection)
The exact reason behind shingle eruptions are not known but it could be due to lowered immunity or stress may trigger.
Shingles is likely to accompany other conditions such as:
- People with cancer, HIV or any other disease that lowers the body’s defences.
- Older adults above the age of 50.
- People with stress.
- Physical trauma.
- Long term use of steroids and medications.
The common signs and symptoms of shingles include:
- A painful or tingling feeling under your skin (pre herpetic pain)
- Sensitivity to touch
- Red rash or red dots on side of the body or face.
- Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
- Itching (Pre herpetic itch)
You may also experience fever, headache, fatigue, chills or upset stomach.
IS IT CONTAGIOUS?
If you have shingles, you can pass on the varicella zoster virus to anyone who has never had chickenpox and is not immune to it. Shingles are relatively less contagious than chickenpox. Until all your sores have crusted over, avoid physical contact especially with anyone who is not vaccinated for chickenpox, pregnant women, children and new-borns.
The rash and blisters are the tell-tale signs of shingles. Your doctor will also check your history of chickenpox. The doctor may take a tissue scraping of the blisters for examination to rule out other dermatological conditions and blood tests (VZV-TJM,TGG) if required.
- Treatment generally involves Oral and topical medications
- Appropriate treatment (Oral antiviral within 72hrs of onset of rash) can speed up healing and reduce complications.
- It usually lasts between two to six weeks.
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