Shingles are caused by virus by name varicella zoster. It is the one that causes chickenpox in humans and the virus remains dormant in the nerve tissues for years which will develop causing shingles later. This disease is marked by painful rashes on the body that produces blisters on one side of the body.
Shingles are different from herpes virus that causes sexually transmitted disease. The affected person can have intense pain and discomfort even after rash has gone. There is no vaccine for preventing shingles but old age people can take a shot of zostavax for reducing the chance of getting shingles.
A person who has got chickenpox is at the risk of getting shingles later in his life. The virus remains inactive in the body for long years which will become active when the conditions are favorable.
Shingles normally bothers only one side of the body with painful rashes or pus filled blisters. It would cause burning sensation on the affected part of the body and for some people there can be numbness or tingling feeling indicating nerve infection. It can cause moderate to severe itching and the pus inside the blisters will break open after some days.
Because of intense pain, shingles are sometimes mistaken for heart or kidney problem. Pain is the first sign for this disease and for some there may not be any rash at all on the skin. In addition to the above, it can cause headache, fatigue, fever and body ache for some people.
It is the varicella zoster virus that causes shingles. Anyone with chickenpox can develop shingles later in his life since the virus can remain dormant in the nervous tissue for years. Once it reaches the skin area crossing the nerve path it produces rashes.
Experts believe that shingles are caused due to weakened immune system after certain infections or the person grows old. The affected person carries the risk of passing the virus to others who come in close contact with him/her. The risk of spreading the disease is more during the period when the fluid from the blisters break open.
Who are at risk?
Anyone with lowered immunity like children, old age people, those affected with cancer, AIDS and other immune related disorders are prone to get shingles if they already had chickenpox in their life.
In rare cases, shingles can produce intense pain even after the disappearance of rashes. This condition is described as postherpetic neuralgia where the damaged nerve will send pain signals to the brain. Shingles can cause partial loss of vision when it affects the eyes.
Your doctor can easily identify shingles from the symptoms of intense pain and blisters with rashes on one side of the body. Blood test and skin culture is done for confirming the presence of virus.
Powerful medications are available to manage pain and to destroy virus. Acyclovir, Valtrex and Famvir are given for treating shingles. Depending on the intensity of pain the dosage of these drugs are altered. Narcotic painkillers and NSAID can also be taken for managing pain during shingles.
You can reduce the risk of spreading the infection by keeping the affected area clean. Itch control lotions and cool compression can be applied for getting relief. No cure is available for shingles but these medicines can control the symptoms very well. Some people use lidocaine for numbing the affected area to prevent the nerve from sending pain signals to the brain.
Pictures of Shingles :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Shingles
Chickenpox vaccine and Shingles vaccine (varicella zoster virus) can be taken to prevent this painful disease. It should be given during childhood as routine immunization schedule.