A DISEASE FAR MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK: SHINGLES

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A DISEASE FAR MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK: SHINGLES

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    MARCIA KOSTERKA
    Keymaster

    What Is Shingles?                                                           

    Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a viral infection caused by the chickenpox virus. Symptoms include pain and a rash on one side of the body. Shingles most commonly affects older adults and people with weak immune systems.                  

    Symptoms 

    Localized burning, throbbing or stabbing pain where the rash will soon appear (within days to weeks); some people describe it as more itchy. It can be constant or come and go.         

    Diagnosis                                                                     

    If you had chickenpox as a child, you might recall the itchy, spotted rash that popped up on your face and body. The varicella zoster virus that causes chickenpox stays inside your body for many years.                                              

    Telltale Signs

    Chickenpox and look at your symptoms. A rash is the main sign of shingles. Often your doctor can tell that you have it from your skin alone.

    A shingles: rash

    Appears on one side of your body and/or face

    Stings, burns, and/or itches

    Starts as red bumps that form into blisters

    When you have shingles, you tend to focus on the short-term — how to get relief from the pain and discomfort you have right now. For that, you have a lot of treatment options, from medicines to alternative therapies.

    Shingles is a viral infection. The main symptom is a rash, usually on one side of your body. Typically, it hurts, burns, itches, and tingles. It may also give you a fever or headache and make you feel really tired.

    Most of the time, your symptoms go away in less than a month. But for some people, complications come up.

    While shingles itself is almost never life-threatening, it can lead to serious problems, such as the loss of eyesight.

    If you think you have shingles, check with your doctor.                                                              

    Treatment

    The virus that causes chickenpox is also what causes shingles. It’s called varicella zoster. It can lie quietly in your nerves for decades after causing chickenpox but suddenly wake up and become active.

    The main symptom of shingles is a painful rash that comes up on one side of your body or face. See your doctor as soon as you can if you think you might have this condition.

    Your doctor may want to put you on medications to control your infection and speed up healing, cut inflammation, and ease your pain. They include:

    They can also lower your chance of having complications. Your doctor may prescribe:

    Acyclovir (Zovirax)

    Famciclovir (Famvir)

    Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

    Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about side effects to watch for if you’re put on one these.

    Once you’re older, that same virus can wake up and cause shingles, also called herpes zoster. It gives you a rash, too, but it’s often more painful than itchy.

    A blistering rash on one side of your body can be a sign you have it. See your doctor to find out for sure. Once you’ve been diagnosed, you can get treated to help relieve your rash and other symptoms.

    Tingling, itching, or prickling skin, followed several days later by a group of fluid-filled blisters on a red, inflamed base of skin; the blisters typically crust over in a week.

    The rash may be accompanied by fever, fatigue, or headache.

    Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about side effects to watch for if you’re put on one these.

     

     

     

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