Shingles Explained

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is the same virus that causes chickenpox and results in painful rashes on the skin. The virus remains in the body even after chickenpox is treated and can reappear as shingles.

In most cases, the virus typically gets triggered by autoimmune diseases, being over the age of 50, or stress. While shingles normally cannot be transmitted via physical contact, someone with a rash can pass the virus onto an individual who has never had chickenpox or been vaccinated. In most cases, shingles is entirely treatable and manageable.

Symptoms of Shingles

Primary symptoms are difficult to identify and may be misdiagnosed. The symptoms in the initial stage are usually flu-like like as headaches, fever, and light sensitivity.

In the following stage, the condition may cause itching, tenderness, tingling, and sudden pain in certain parts of the body. The third stage of shingles is when the trademark stripe rash usually appears, most commonly on one side of the body.

These rashes may be painful blisters and pus-filled but typically improve within two weeks. However, shingles outbreaks may result in some discoloration. If you experience symptoms such as growing rashes, vision problems, dizziness, and confusion, it is best to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Treating Shingles

There is no cure, but there are treatment options to relieve pain, speed up the healing process, and prevent further complications. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are key.

In most cases, treating shingles involves the use of antiviral medications to battle the attack against the immune system. Antidepressants, over-the-counter pain medications, and topical treatments can also improve symptoms and lessen the impact of the viral infection.

Following your treatment to a T, keeping your rashes clean, and avoiding stress are important steps in preventing shingles from leading to complications.

Featured Image: Depositphotos/© angelsimon

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