Shingles is a painful condition caused by varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox in childhood.
What are shingles?
Shingles is a painful condition characterized by rashes that are formed on different parts of the body by the virus that causes chickenpox. Varicella-zoster remains in the body in the inactive state after a chicken pox infection and becomes active again when the body’s immune system gets weak.
A weakened immune system can be caused by many factors from illness to older age. If a person has never had chicken pox, that person can not get shingles.
Shingles starts as a painful rash on any part of the body which then leads to blisters. These blisters will scab over in a week to 10 days, typically, but may take between 2 to 4 weeks to entirely clear up. Before the rash appears, there is usually pain or itching in the area where the rash forms.
A shingles rash usually appears in a single stripe around the left or the right side of the body or on one side of the face. Shingles can affect the eyes and lead to severe complications which can result in the loss of eyesight.
Common symptoms of shingles include:
Some people also experience post-herpetic neuralgia, which is a pain in the area where the shingles rash appeared.
Diagnosis of shingles is based on appearance and symptoms. If the diagnosis is not certain, there are tests that can be run to help diagnose the illness. One of these is called the Tzanck test. The Tzanck test can confirm infection, but is not specific to shingles, so is frequently not used.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV), the virus that causes cold sores and genital herpes, may cause nearly identical lesions. The major difference in these infections is frequency and location of the lesions.
The best treatment for shingles is to get vaccinated against this illness. Vaccines are available to people age 50 and older. Vaccination may prevent shingles, or at a minimum, reduce the severity of a shingles infection.
Treatment for shingles should begin as soon as possible, as it is less likely to be effective if it is started more than72 hours after the appearance of skin lesions,
Analgesics are given in case of severe pain around or near the rash area.
Anti-viral therapy decreases the duration and the eruption of rashes in healthy and immunocompromised patients. It also decreases the incidence of post-herpetic neuralgia. Apart from this, anti-viral drugs are also administered in patients with severe pain and facial pain around the eye area.
For immunocompromised patients, treatment beyond 7 to 10 days, lasting until all lesions are crusted, may be necessary
In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.
When to visit a doctor:
If you have a linear, blistering, painful rash, a medical provider can help determine the cause and provide treatment.
Treatment for shingles is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.
For more information regarding shingles, see the following website: