Shingles on the Face

Shingles on the face

Image credit: http://phil.cdc.gov/

Having shingles on the face is one the most depressing moments of a person’s life. Whenever one is waking up, upon looking on the mirror, he or she will first see the horrible rashes, worse, if the shingles rashes are all over the face. Treating shingles on the face is not only about treating the face alone but also the whole body must be treated since the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), the culprit behind chicken pox, is infecting adults especially the older ones who had a chicken pox before. Medications and doctor’s advice must be sought to get rid of this annoying and dreadful shingles. Be beautiful again when shingles are not present anymore.

What is Shingles?

If you have clicked on our blog post, you will be now more informed about this awful viral skin disease. Even when chicken pox was healed, the zoster virus remains in the nervous system and this virus might be coming back to attack again as Shingles. however, in physical appearance, this is usually milder than chicken pox but internally, this is usually worse than chicken pox because it also causes nerve pain and it is more dangerous if not treated properly. It is not advisable to self medicate if shingles hits the head area because the nerves and other face parts such as eyes, nose and mouth are the most critically connected to the brain.

Why face and torso are the most targeted parts?

There is no official medical report about this. Since chicken pox and shingles were caused by the same virus, chicken pox has rashes all over the body while shingles rashes appear only on certain areas of the body. The affected area has been targeted because this is where the virus has been reactivated.

Will the rashes erupt on my whole face or only the side?

Shingles on the face often appear on the nose and the eye. Rashes also erupt on one side of the face, head/scalp, mouth, eye or ear. It is rare that shingles will occur on the whole face.

What to expect?

Shingles on the face or head may cause motor function and facial muscle weakness since it may involve the cranial nerves (nerves in the brain exchanging information involving head and neck)

You may feel itching and tingling on the would-be shingles area. After 1-5 days, rashes will form and these will turn into clusters of blisters filled with fluid and with crust over.

New blisters may arise up to a week. People with lesions may feel spasms even at a gentle touch.

On the eye part known as optical shingles, the zoster virus can cause painful eye inflammation and cause temporary or permanent loss of vision which is very alarming. The condition where shingles affects the cornea area is known as zoster keratitis. This includes redness and swelling of the eye, drooping eyelid and inflammation of the cornea. Whenever one has this condition, seek a physician immediately because if this isn’t treated, blindness will likely occur.

If shingles hit one of the ears, hearing problems may occur. Aside from shingles on the ear, shingles in tongue and inside of the mouth may cause tasting, eating and ulcer problems. Biting and chewing will be difficult for the affected person.

It is known that the upper area of the face is the most prone area when it comes to face shingles. Even the condition of the area is mild, one must see a doctor.

How will the shingles clear up?

Shingles can be treated with antiviral medicines and painkillers prescribed by doctors. If at home, non-prescription painkillers such as analgesics, acetaminophen, topical anesthetic or topical lotions containing calamine, anticonvulsants, optoids, antidepressants, aspirin or ibuprofen can ease the pain caused by shingles. Regular hand washing, avoiding picking and scratching blisters, making the crust fall off naturally will prevent infection of shingles.

Use cool and moist compress to ease the pain or itch. While waiting to have medicines, corn starch or baking soda may also be applied to dry the sores for a shorter healing process.

To clean away crusts and decrease oozing, the affected area must be soaked with tap water.

To reduce inflammation and complications, antiviral medicines might be prescribed such as Aciclovir, Valaciclovir and Famciclovir. During the healing stage, shingles will dry up forming scabs or crusts and will begin to fade within 7-10 days. Most recovered with no visible scars so no need to worry about facial appearance.

Some may resort to vaccines to prevent the re-occurrence of this disease.

To prevent shingles from coming back or from getting it, aside from eating healthy foods, living in a clean and non-polluted environment, one must avoid direct contact to the shingles or blisters area.  Immune system must be paid attention. Regular medical check-ups even annually will definitely help to track your health condition.

Will I still experience post-shingles pain and what causes it?

Maybe. Having postherpetic neuralgia or pain after shingles rashes might continue for several months to more than a year.

The nerve functions were disrupted by shingles. It became confused and uncontrollable resulting in sending pain signals to the brain making the person feel the intense pain. Scar tissue forming near the nerves might also be a reason why this happens.

Most will likely to experience pain during the post-shingles stage if the rashes have occurred on the fifth cranial nerve known as the trigeminal nerve, (largest of the cranial nerves).

How will the post-shingles pain go away?

Depending on the case because different treatments work on different folks. It will go away through a single treatment or combination of skin patches or topical treatments such as Qutenza patches (Capsaicin) and Lidocaine.

Aside from the treatments mentioned above, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) and Spinal cord or Peripheral nerve stimulation can help in treating the pain.

Conclusion

Shingles on the Face can be a nightmare but with knowledge and prompt treatment, it can be healed. Clear skin will come and self-confidence can be regained in facing the world.

Shingles home remedies

Shingles home treatment

Luckily, here, in front of you, is the answer for the shingles home remedies. Many will consult friends, relatives or search the Internet if they feel something unusual and then, the consultant will simply say that you must see a doctor. Common sense right? Let’s face it, if money or health insurance is not a problem especially to economically-challenged countries, one will see a physician immediately to be sure about his or her condition but how about if frequently answered questions about a certain disease in books and the Internet will help the affected person to save time, cost and effort if symptoms of the disease are just mild and can simply be remedied at home.

Summary about Shingles

The varicella-zoster virus which causes chicken pox can attack again that will cause  Shingles (zoster or zona). Shingles is a skin disease caused by a viral infection resulting to a painful clustered blisters or rash. Its other name is zoster or herpes zoster. This skin disease usually happened in older adults especially from ages 50-60 but it doesn’t mean that young people would be exempted. Everyone can get shingles from having weak immune system, stress, medications, aging and cancer treatments.

Upon aging, there’s the possibility that shingles will strike. An individual can be surely attacked by this virus if his or her mother during pregnancy have shingles or chicken pox or if he or she have already acquired chicken pox during his or her childhood years. When someone has already been healed from the chicken pox, the virus still remains in the nervous system.

When does a Shingles symptom needed to be taken seriously?

Please read “SHINGLES: A DREADFUL SKIN CONDITION” in this website first before reading this post so you will know if this shingles can be treated at home or if the affected individual must be admitted to the hospital immediately.

If the affected area is on the head including face and if you are pregnant, seek medical help because:

  • Shingles in the eye can cause pain and inflammation that may lead to temporary or permanent loss of vision.
  • Shingles in the ear causes hearing problems
  • Shingles in the tongue (herpes simplex) can cause not only eating problems but can also develop tongue sores or mouth ulcers as well.

If there is a pain but without rashes or blisters, it might be shingles that can lead from months to years of nerve pain if not treated properly.

Do it yourself Shingles home care

To relieve symptoms and prevent further complications, these tips must be followed for faster healing.

  • Rest and sleep to strengthen the immune system.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to lessen irritation by staying hydrated so skin can be prevented from drying out.
  • Good hygiene (including trimming your fingernails to reduce scratching)
  • Use cool and moist compress to ease the pain or itch. A compress with aluminum acetate solution might help too.
  • While waiting to have medicines, these baking ingredients, baking soda or corn starch may also be applied to dry the sores for a shorter healing process.
  • Regular hand washing, avoiding picking and scratching blisters, making the crust fall off naturally will prevent infection of shingles.
  • To clean away crusts and decrease oozing, the affected area must be soaked with tap water and dressing must be applied to it.

Non-prescription painkillers

Analgesics, acetaminophen, topical anesthetic or topical lotions containing calamine, anticonvulsants, optoids, antidepressants, aspirin or ibuprofen can ease the pain caused by shingles.

To reduce inflammation and complications, antiviral medicines might be prescribed such as Aciclovir (Zovirax), Valaciclovir (Valtrex) and Famciclovir (Famvir). During the healing stage, shingles will dry up forming scabs or crusts and will begin to fade within 7-10 days.

For mild shingle rashes, people who have this can manage these rashes without pain medications but majority still needs medications to manage pain. Some are content with buying over-the-counter painkillers such as:

  • Percocet
  • Vicodin
  • Medications aiming the nerves such as gabapentin or tricyclic medications such as nortriptyline, desipramine, or amitriptyline could be used.

These over-the counter painkillers prescribed by a physician are still needed. Worse, if severe pain persists, the person must be admitted to the hospital and will have to be treated by intravenous pain medications.

Other home remedies for shingles rashes or blisters:

  • Dab the cotton with colloidal silver or hydrogen peroxide and apply it to the infected rashes or blisters.
  • The popular Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg) is a big help. Mix ½ cup of it in 2 cups of water and use a cotton to dab to the affected areas.
  • Combine or make a mixture of leek juice, raw honey and aloe vera gel. Then, apply this mixture  to the rashes.
  • Lemon balm is the only herb in the mint family that has antiviral properties against herpes.
  • Many said that using Cayenne or chili pepper is effective. It contains capsaicin which is used topically for pain relief. If using it is very messy, try the ointment form, Zostrix. It is recommended to apply this four to five times daily to the affected area.
  • While on shingles, enjoy eating by adding garlic to food every day. Garlic has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties to fight diseases.
  • Licorice, known for having immune-boosting compounds, can be bought in pharmacies as licorice cream or ointment. Drinking licorice tea or applying a strong one to the rash three times a day might help.
  • Lomatium root can enhance the immune system and the recommended dosage for this is 500 mg four times a day every day.
  • The nutritional supplements to fight shingles are vitamins C, E, B12 and Zinc.
  • Vitamin C for anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It boosts the immune system.
  • Vitamin E for solving persistent nerve pain caused by zoster virus which is known as postherpetic neuralgia.
  • Vitamin B12 for good nerve function and relieving pain.
  • Zinc for reducing the frequency, duration and severity of shingles rashes or blisters outbreak.

The final say

Shingles home remedies or treatment is a big help and can be a first aid in treating shingles. If rashes or pain becomes worse or if you are pregnant, stop self-medicating and seek medical help to prevent danger in life.