Shingles (herpes zoster)

ShinglesShingles (herpes zoster) is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. During the chickenpox, a virus may penetrate to the root of a nerve in the brain or spinal cord. There is idle for years until it reactivates by some physical or emotional stress. Because of that, it is difficult to assess the duration of incubation. When it reactivates, the virus multiplies and causes severe, piercing pain in the affected area. Groups of bubbles on the skin are also creating.

Symptoms

A fierce pain in the affected area usually precede the rash that occurs after a few days. The disease can affect almost every part of the body, but it is especially occurring unilaterally on the trunk; most painful is if it gets the face (especially near the eyes). The pain does not stop when rash outbreaks, and often last for several weeks after the disappearance of the rash. The bubbles created by the herpes zoster itch and gradually turn into scabs. They usually disappear after about a week, but leave scars as well as bubbles that are created with chickenpox.

If the facial nerve is affected, it may cause temporary paralysis. If the disease has struck the eyes, there is a risk of painful and dangerous damage to the cornea.

Frequency

Herpes zoster occurs unpredactably, although there are always a few cases among children during an outbreak of chickenpox. In adults, the disease is more common and usually more painful.

What to do?

If you have shingles, you can only lubricate the rash with zinc oxide and take painkillers. Always consult a doctor when you have shingles. Do not wait if the disease has spread to the face. Your doctor may prescribe a more effective analgesic and accelerate the healing of the rash by smearing it with antivirals. In addition, you will need expert advice on how to protect the eyes. Sometimes, blood control in laboratory is necessary to exclude some other underlying disease.