Shingles (Herpes zoster)
What is shingles?
Shingles is a painful rash caused by the Varicella zostervirus (Herpes varicellae), which is the virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles occurs in people who have had chickenpox and is a reactivation of the dormant virus. Shingles often occurs long after the initial chickenpox infection maybe years. Shingles is contagious and may itself cause chickenpox. However, contact with a person with shingles or chickenpox cannot cause shingles.
The causes shingles
After the chickenpox virus has been contracted, it travels from the skin along the nerve paths to the roots of the nerves where it becomes inactive. The chickenpox virus then 'hibernates'. When the virus is reactivated, it travels via the nerve paths to the skin. It is not known what factors trigger a reactivation of the virus. Shingles generally affects the elderly, but occasionally occurs in children who have had chickenpox within the first year of their lives and in people with an immune deficiency. Shingles can be a sign of immunodeficiency, caused by HIV or chemotherapy,stress, long time after sickness for example, but most people who get shingles have a normal immune system.
What are the symptoms?
The first sign that a reactivation of the chickenpox virus is taking place is a burning sensation on the nerve paths along which the virus is travelling. Nerve paths typically form half-circles around the body. The pain and subsequent rash correspond to the position of the nerve paths and are almost always on one side of the body or face or limbs only, but more common in the trunk body .The rash is typically accompanied by a fever and enlarged lymph nodes.
Two to three days after the pain has begun, a typical rash appears: small blisters on red, swollen skin. It resembles the type that is seen during an attack of chickenpox but covers a smaller area.
The rash usually reaches its peak after three to five days. Then, the blisters burst and turn into sores, which gradually scab over. The scabs fall off after two to three weeks.
Sometimes the area where the rash was located becomes extremely painful after the scabs have gone and can last from a few weeks to several months. This highly unpleasant after-effect of shingles is called postherpetic neuralgia.
People who have never had chickenpox can reduce the risk of getting the virus by avoiding contact with people with chickenpox and shingles. Shingles itself is not preventable.
The patient's medical history in
combination with the appearance of the rash will usually be sufficient for
making a diagnosis. If necessary, a scrape from the blisters can help
identify the virus. A blood sample can also be used to confirm the initial
What happens if it gets worse?
Shingles is rarely serious. In about 90 per cent of patients, the attack normally subsides within a week after the appearance of the first symptoms if it gets treated immediately. Otherwise they may suffer for months. Most people only have one or two attacks. Elderly people in particular may continue to feel intense pain, even after the attack seems to have subsided. These could goes on for months of pain and may cause depression.
What can be done at home?
Keep the rash uncovered.
Try not to scratch. Use calamine lotion to ease the irritation.
When should a doctor be consulted for more help?
If the pain is getting worst and immobility.If the rash involves the eyes or the top of the nose.The sores have not healed after 10 days.The patient has a high temperature.The patient has another serious illness at the same time.We have the special ancient herbs for this pain and shingers.
Herpes zoster, colloquially known as shingles, is the reactivation of varicella zoster virus, leading to a crop of painful blisters over the area of a dermatome.
In some patients, herpes zoster can reactivate subclinically with pain in a dermatomal distribution without rash. This condition is known as zoster sine herpete and may be more complicated....
Often, pain is the first symptom. This pain can be characterized as stinging, tingling, numbing, or throbbing, and can be pronounced with quick stabs of intensit.
Most people are infected with this virus as a child, as it causes chickenpox. The body eliminates the virus from the system...