- What Is It?
- Signs and Symptoms
- Shingle Rash
The severity of shingles depends on various factors, such as the age of the patient, the general health condition of the patient, and the part of the body where shingles develop. For some people, the symptoms are mild with mild pain and itching. Whereas other patients may present with intense pain, itching, and complications.
Most cases of shingles last around two to four weeks. The Shingle vaccine is effective in preventing shingles. Two doses of the vaccine are recommended in children and adults who have never had chickenpox.
What causes shingles?
The reactivation of the chickenpox virus as shingles occurs more commonly in the following cases:
- Periods of extreme physical or emotional stress
- Weakened immune system due to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
- Cancer patients
- Patients who have had a transplant
- Age above 50 years
- Patients with diabetes
- Patients taking medications such as steroids or immunosuppressant medications
- Poor nutrition and health
- Major physical injury
What are the signs and symptoms of shingles?
Shingles typically occurs over one side of the face or body. The common signs and symptoms may include:
- Pain is usually the first symptom in shingles and can vary in intensity
- Burning sensation, numbness or tingling and itching
- Raised red rash which usually appears a few days after the pain
- Multiple blisters which appear in a stripe pattern
- The blisters contain fluid and they break open with crusting
- Fever, chills, fatigue, and body ache
- Photophobia (sensitivity to light) in case the rash involves the forehead
How does shingles rash appear?
The typical red shingles rash and blisters follow pain, itching, and tingling. The rash is usually limited to one side of the face and body.
Shingles on the face, scalp, mouth, and ear
- Rash and shingles blisters appear on one side of the face, extending to the scalp and ear.
- If the rash involves the ear, it can lead to hearing loss, imbalance, and weakness of the facial muscles.
- Shingles rash on the scalp causes pain while combing and bald patches.
- Shingles can occur in the mouth, which is usually very painful, causing pain while eating and a change in taste.
Shingles of the eye and forehead
- Rash and blisters appear around the eye, over the eyelids, one side of the forehead, extending to the tip of the nose.
- Patients complain of burning or throbbing in the eye, with watering of the eyes, swelling, and blurred vision.
- The pain may be present after the rash disappears due to nerve damage, but improves eventually. Without treatment, shingles of the eye and forehead can lead to corneal damage and vision loss.
Shingles on the waist and back
- Rashes and blistering appear over one side of the waist and the back in a stripe pattern, extending up to the lower back.
Shingles on the buttocks
- Shingles rash and blisters over the buttocks, usually on one side.
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What are complications of shingles?
Shingles can have complications that last long after the rash has disappeared. Complications can also occur if the infection has not been treated appropriately:
- Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
- Facial nerve paralysis
- Inflammation of the eye
- Loss of vision (due to cornea infection)
- Postherpetic neuralgia (pain that lasts long after the infection resolves)
- Loss of hearing and balance problems
- Loss of taste
- Superinfection with bacteria causes increased swelling, redness, warmth, pain, tenderness, and pus formation
How do you get rid of shingles?
Shingles rash and blisters can cause severe pain and may not reduce with over-the-counter pain medication. Treatment of pain includes:
Can shingles be prevented? Vaccine
Shingles can be prevented. The vaccine is available against the varicella-zoster virus to prevent chickenpox and shingles. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), children are routinely recommended to take two doses of the vaccine, the first dose at the age of 12-15 months and the second between 4-6 years.
Two doses of the vaccine are recommended in children and adults who have never had chickenpox. One dose of the vaccine prevents 95% of moderate disease and 100% of severe disease. Two doses of the vaccine are more effective. It is not known how long the vaccine is effective, but studies have shown that the vaccine provides protection against the varicella-zoster virus for 10-20 years following vaccination.
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Herpes Zoster PictureHerpes zoster. Shingles is cause by herpes zoster which is a reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV). VZV causes chicken pox and stays in your body for the rest of your life. When it reactivates, it results in a red rash that includes blisters and is generally painful and itches. Shingles can last days or even weeks and it can result in scarring and prolonged pain along the nerve affected. The rash usually dries out and becomes crusty. It can result in scarring and prolonged pain along the nerve affected.
How Long Is Shingles Contagious?Shingles is contagious from the time the blisters are oozing until the time the blisters have scabbed.
Is Shingles Contagious?Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Shingles symptoms and signs include skin burning, numbness, and tingling along with a painful red, blistering rash. Shingles is contagious until all of the blisters have crusted over.
Shingles (Herpes Zoster)Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus. Other shingles symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches. Treatment focuses on pain management and shortening the duration of the illness with antiviral medications.
Shingles QuizShingles falls within a well-known family of viruses that cause itching, burning, blisters, and pain. Take the Shingles Quiz to get the facts, causes, symptoms, and treatments for this itchy, painful condition.
What Happens When You Get Shingles When Pregnant?Becoming infected with chickenpox during pregnancy could cause birth defects in your unborn child. Likewise, shingles could also cause problems for your unborn child. If you are pregnant and haven't had chickenpox, avoid exposure to infected people. Zostavax, the shingles vaccine, can reduce the incidence of shingles by half. Women should wait at least three months after receiving the vaccine before trying to get pregnant.
What Is the Main Cause of Shingles Rash? Signs, Symptoms, VaccineShingles occurs when the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox, re-emerges due to a weakened immune system. Tingling may occur before herpes zoster blisters appear, usually on the side of the body. The shingles vaccine can boost the immune system to lower the risk of shingles outbreaks.
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How Can You Tell the Difference Between Chickenpox and Shingles?Both chickenpox and shingles are caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The difference between chickenpox and shingles is that chickenpox usually occurs first, and shingles are a result of a reactivation of chickenpox later on.
What Does a Shingles Rash Look Like at First?The typical shingles red rash or blisters occur after pain, itching, and tingling. They are usually limited to one side of the face and body.
What Triggers a Shingles Outbreak?Shingles occur when the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus responsible for chickenpox, reactivates in the body, usually due to a weakened immune system. Learn about the symptoms of shingles and how you can treat them. The difference between chickenpox and shingles is that the first time you get infected with the varicella virus, you get chickenpox. Shingles is a condition you can develop if you've already had chickenpox. Learn about the differences between chickenpox and shingles and how these two diseases are connected.
Who Cannot Get Shingrix Vaccine?You cannot get Shingrix if you currently have an infection, had the chickenpox vaccine, are pregnant, or allergic to Shingrix vaccine.
Who Is Eligible for the Shingles Vaccine?Shingles is a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus. People eligible for the shingles vaccine include those over the age of 50 and people over the age of 19 who have a weakened immune system.
Why You Shouldn't Get the Shingles VaccineShingles activates when your immunity is low, usually with advancing age. But not everyone who is a candidate for the shingles vaccine should take it.