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: A Dreadful Skin Condition

Shingles virus showing treatment and symptoms.

Having acne, skin rashes or anything that goes bad on skin can be really annoying and these skin diseases can make one’s self esteem become low. These skin conditions will not only make people uglier but also can affect one’s health since Shingles was caused by a viral infection. Here is a simple but very detailed guide to know this skin disease.

What is Shingles and how will a person catches it?

Shingles (also known as zoster or zona) is a skin disease caused by a viral infection which results to a painful rash. It is primarily happened in older adults especially from ages 50-60 but it does not mean that young people would be exempted. Aside from aging, weak immune system, stress, medications, cancer treatments and if their mothers have it during their late pregnancy or having a chicken pox themselves during childhood can also be causes of Shingles. The verdict for this painful, awful and alarming skin disease is the Vacirella zoster virus. This virus belongs to a group of viruses called herpesviruses. Herpesviruses hides in the nervous system after the occurrence of initial infection and travels down to the nerve cell fibers to cause a renewed infection.

Vocirella zoster virus is the main culprit of the popularly known viral skin disease which is the Chicken pox. When a person has healed from a chicken pox, the zoster virus remains in his or her nervous system. Upon aging, there’s a possibility that this virus will strike again and here comes the shingles.

 

Shingles Symptoms

On a single part of the body, redness and painfulness can be a red flag for shingles. You may feel itching and tingling in this area. After 1-5 days, rashes will form and these will turn into clusters of blisters filled with fluid and with crust over. It looks like a chicken pox, the difference is only that chicken pox’s rashes can be seen all over the body while shingles can be seen usually only a single part whether it’s only on face, neck, back, butt, torso, etc. 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.

Symptoms may include headache, fever and chills, nausea, swollen glands (lymph nodes), dizziness, fatigue, malaise and heartburn or stomach ache.

Laboratory tests can be done to detect the disease. These can detect VZV-specific IgM antibody in blood. Other tests can be conducted through collecting a lymph from a blister tested by polymerase chain reaction to observe VZV DNA or through examination with an electron microscope for virus particles.

Blood work tests are not needed necessarily, a swab of fluid from the blisters can be tested in a laboratory to detect antibodies and varicella zoster virus to confirm diagnosis.

Shingles effect: Is it contagious?

Shingles is widespread and painful. It isn’t spread through coughing or sneezing but direct contact to shingles rashes can infect others. A person with shingles must also avoid close contact with people particularly the infants, children, pregnant women and anyone who doesn’t have a chicken pox before. Also those who have weak immune system and are currently ill.

The person who has shingles can cover the affected area with dressing so it will not only be healed but also it will help to minimize the spread of the virus. As the shingles becomes drier, it will be less contagious. Once the shingles becomes scabs, the person is not anymore contagious.

How to treat and prevent Shingles?

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.

Some may resort to vaccines to prevent the re-occurrence of this disease. All about vaccines for Shingles, considerations if is it right to get a shot and medicines to be injected will be discussed on another post.

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.

Remember, Health is Wealth.