Shingles, known clinically as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that typically manifests as a rash or blisters on the skin. The rash can be combined with pain or numbness in the affected region. Even though uncomfortable, shingles is treatable, although not preventable.
Shingles is the result of a virus, the same virus that triggers chicken pox, varicella zoster. In the event of individuals who have previously suffered from chicken pox, the virus stays dormant in their nervous system even after they recuperate. When the virus is re-activated, by elements including illness, stress, ageing or a combination of the three, this can occur.
Anybody who has had chicken pox may get shingles. Those with shingles might not instantly experience the characteristic shingles rash. Instead, they will experience an unusual susceptibility on one region of the skin, which frequently is combined with tingling, numbness, or perhaps a burning sensation where the rash appears eventually.
Many people experience influenza-like symptoms, including severe headaches, increased lymph node swellings and sensitivity to light. As the virus advances, the rash appears on the very sensitive areas of the skin, often only on one side of the body, and in perhaps a band or strip development.
The rash consists of blisters that are filled with fluid that collapse afterwards before becoming dry and crusting over. The rash often clears up in about one or two months, although residual pain, known as postherpetic neuralgia, may last much longer, in several cases, years.
This usually only occurs in people who experience shingles on their faces or chests. Shingles is usually treated with a mixture of antiviral medications, analgesics and soothing lotions.
The most frequently recommended antiviral for shingles is just aciclovir, as it reduces the duration of the virus, and for that reason the probability of the complications. Generic analgesics like paracetamols might help to manage the pain associated with the virus and calamine lotion is applied to reduce the itching.