Shingles Facts and Shingles Treatment
Article by Franchis Adam
Shingles is a reactivation of the herpes zoster virus (varicella-zoster virus, or VZV). This same virus causes the childhood illness chickenpox. The chickenpox virus (varicella) remains in a dormant state in the body in the root of nerves that control sensation. Inflammation and scarring of the cornea, along with conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva) and iritis (inflammation of the iris) are typical problems. Shingles manifests as a vesicular rash, usually in a single dermatome. Development of the rash may be preceded by paresthesias or pain along the involved dermatome. Ocular involvement and zoster keratitis may result if reactivation occurs along the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve. Anyone who has previously had chickenpox may subsequently develop shingles. They can be male or female, young or old. In general, it is more common in older adults and certainly tends to be more severe in this group.
Shingles is more common and more severe in patients with poor immunity. Blisters can occur in more than one area and the virus may affect internal organs, including the gastrointestinal tract, the lungs and the brain.
What are the symptoms of shingles?
Shingles causes a painful, blistering rash. Sometimes the pain starts a few days before the rash appears.
The rash begins with reddish bumps. In a few days, these bumps turn into blisters. You might feel a stinging or burning pain. The rash may wrap around your back and chest, or it may be on one side of your face.
The blisters usually crust over and fall off after 7 to 10 days. You may see changes in the color of your skin when the scabs fall off. In bad cases of shingles, these color changes last forever.
No one knows for sure what causes the chickenpox virus to become activated to cause shingles. Some possibilities include the following:
* Stress * Fatigue * A weakened immune system (This may be age-related,
What is the treatment for shingles?
Most cases of shingles resolve on their own without specific treatment. Two medications available for use by physicians in treating immunocompromised patients are vidarabine and acyclovir.What can be to done prevent the spread of shingles?
Chickenpox must be prevented in order to prevent shingles. A vaccine for chickenpox is now available and it is hoped that immunized individuals will be less likely to develop shingles in later life.
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