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Healing Shingles

healing shinglesWaking up and seeing rashes on the mirror makes the person annoyed. Working or attending classes will be disrupted due that the affected person will be embarrassed to show his or her face to the public. Healing shingles might be the solution for this.

What is shingles?

The word “Shingles” is derived from the Latin word cingulum meaning “girdle”. It is the common name that is used to refer to a viral infection that is medically referred to as Herpes Zoster.

The term “Zoster” originates from the Greek word meaning “belt” because of the characteristic “belt-like” or “stripe like” rash that is caused by this disease.

What causes shingles?

This disease is caused by the reactivation of the Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) which is primarily responsible for causing chicken pox in childhood. After the primary infection has subsided this virus remains latent for several years together in the dorsal root ganglia of the body only to get to get reactivated in individuals who are either immunocompromised or have recently experienced a stressful life event. It is more common after the age of 60.

How do I know If I have shingles?

  • A person who has contracted this disease would initially experience only non-specific symptoms like  low grade fever, headache and malaise followed by sensations of itching, “pins and needles “or tingling numbness. This is accompanied by a tingling, aching, stinging or throbbing nerve pain which may vary from mild to severe. This is the initial phase of the disease and would typically last anywhere between two to three days and three weeks.
  • Next there would be the appearance of a rash which initially gives the appearance of hives but gradually changes to give the characteristic belt-like or stripe like appearance. It is always confined to a single dermatome or one single side of the body and never crosses the midline to the other side. It is this peculiar feature of the disease which helps to aid in its diagnosis.
  • The most common area of the body where you would expect to encounter such a rash would be on the torso or lower back but it can also occur on the face, eyes, mouth and tongue due to the involvement of the branches of the trigeminal nerve. When it occurs in the eyes it is referred to as Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus.
  • Finally vesicles appear on the skin which are blister like in appearance and are filled with a clear watery fluid. They continue to form for the next 3-5 days.
  • These painful blisters eventually become filled with blood. Later they develop crusts which eventually fall off. The disease may last for as long as 7-10 days and it may take as long as 2-4 weeks for the skin to return to normal.

What Shingles remedies can I find at home?

While it is mandatory to see a physician in the event that you have contracted the disease, home remedies may often help to provide temporary relief. Some home remedies that may prove effective include:

  • Using Cold packs or cold compresses to  help relieve the pain
  • Gently place a cold towel or pour ice water over the affected area. It can help to soothe the pain.
  • The affected portion of the body should be washed with soap and water.
  • Calamine lotion can help to alleviate any itching or discomfort.
  • Get plenty of bedrest in order to hasten a speedy recovery from the illness.
  • Ibuprofen helps reduce inflammation is therefore considered the drug of choice. Aspirin may be another useful option and is available at your local pharmacy. If you are allergic to aspirin or ibuprofen, ask your doctor to prescribe something for the pain.
  • Your doctor may prescribe a topical local anesthetic cream to be used for the blisters.
  • A wet compress soaked with aluminum acetate can be both soothing and cleansing.
  • Further spread of bacteria can be avoided by meticulous skin care, particularly with cutting of fingernails.
  • Resist the temptation to pop the blisters! It will only worsen the scarring and prolong the healing process.
  • Wear loose clothing.
  • Avoid any close contact with those people who have not had chickenpox, or are immunocompromised.

What is the treatment for Shingles?

The main aim of treatment is to reduce the severity of the pain, shorten the duration of a shingles episode, and prevent complications from occurring in the future.

Analgesics

People with mild to moderate pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications.

Antivirals

  • Patients with herpes zoster benefit from oral antiviral therapy.
  • Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, or Famciclovir administered daily for 5-7 days leads to accelerated healing of lesions and resolution of the pain.
  • For low-risk immunocompromised patients, oral therapy with Valacyclovir or Famciclovir may be beneficial.
  • Corticosteroids may be useful to deal acute pain but have not shown any beneficial effects on long term pain.

Steroids

  • In addition opioids like morphine or oxycodone should be used to treat postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) as they minimize the pain.

Can Shingles Be Prevented by Vaccines?

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States has approved a vaccine for adult shingles known as Zostavax in those individuals who are over the age of 50 and have had chicken pox.
  • Only one dose is required to be administered in adults and subsequent booster dozes are not required.
  • Research has shown that this vaccine greatly contributed to reducing the risk of a shingles outbreak. In addition it was found to be very effective in reducing symptoms of this disease and also preventing the occurrence of post-herpetic neuralgia.A systematic review by the Cochrane Library concluded that 1 episode of shingles was prevented for every 70 patients who received this vaccine.
  • Previous attacks of Herpes Zoster have been shown to confer immunity on the individual and reduce the risk of a recurrence.
  • Always insist on getting vaccinated regardless of whether you have had Herpes in the past .Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the ACIP recommend the vaccination of all adults irrespective of whether they have contracted the disease in the past or not.
  • A study conducted in 2007 found that the zoster vaccine was likely to be cost-effective in the United States.
  • Ongoing studies are being used to evaluate the effectiveness of this vaccine long-term. In the Shingles Prevention Study (SPS), vaccine efficacy was maintained through four years of follow-up.
  • However this vaccine cannot be administered to pregnant women.
  • If you have taken the shingles vaccine you should wait at least three months before trying to get pregnant.
  • Those individuals who have a weakened immune system due to HIV, cancer treatment or other conditions should not take the shingles vaccine because it contains live attenuated viral particles.

Healing shingles is a way to enjoy your life again and return to normal activities. Maintain a healthy diet and often go to non-polluted places for you to have a longer healthy life.

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How do you treat Shingles?

how do you treat shinglesHaving a skin disease will be a sure-fire way to be pissed off or freak out. This post is all about “how do you treat shingles?” where you will learn how you could erase this skin problem not only on the surface but also within your inner body. So then, let’s discuss its causes and its treatment.

How come there is this disease called Shingles?

People who contract chickenpox especially the children have the herpes zoster virus that causes it to lay dormant inside their bodies. Sometimes, this latent virus gets revived in adults whose immune system are suppressed due to illness, stress or other reasons. This herpes zoster virus becomes the culprit for the disease known as shingles and it is most common in adults over the age of 60.

How will I know if I have this? What are the symptoms?

Being caused by the same virus, shingles is similar to chickenpox and it presents as fluid-filled oozing blisters that will eventually become dry, crusty and then, heal. The first symptom of this is usually a tingling or burning pain under the skin because of the nerve involvement in shingles. Next comes the itchy rashes or blisters which generally occur only on one side or an area of the body. These rashes may also occur as a band along the path of the nerve. Also, other symptoms may include fever, chills, stomach pain or digestive problems. Lymph node enlargement can also be a symptom too.

In some cases, complications may arise from this skin disease because if the affected area is not kept clean and dry, bacteria may proliferate in the area and cause infection. Do you think these are only the symptoms? Actually, there’s more!

Postherpetic neuralgia is caused by nerve damage due to shingles and is characterized by nerve pain and tingling that may persist for up to several years after the rash has cleared. Another serious complication is Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which can occur when the skin disease affects the face. Its common symptoms are facial paralysis, loss of taste, earache and partial or complete deafness. Shingles may also affect the eye area causing blindness or it can reach the brain that might cause brain inflammation leading to serious problems and even death.

How will I treat this?

As in the case of most other viral diseases, there is no cure for this and it usually clears up on its own after a period of three to five weeks. However, due to the intensity of its pain and discomfort, doctors usually prescribe their patients medicines to control symptoms, reduce pain and shorten the healing period. Patients can also opt for natural treatments to ease their discomfort.

Ideally, they should begin a course of the anti-viral drug like acyclovir, famciclovir or valacyclovir within 72 hours from the time when the rashes appeared. Antiviral treatment usually lasts between 7 to 10 days and it reduces the severity of the pain and blisters, shortens the span of the disease and also prevents the development of complications like postherpetic neuralgia.

Doctors also prescribe pain medicines, ranging from common over-the-counter analgesics like Aspirin to stronger prescription narcotics or opioids. In more severe cases, some physicians recommend the use of topical anaesthetics like benzocaine or anaesthetic patches that can release a small dose of Lidocaine into the affected area to control the pain. Also, anaesthetic treatment can be continued if the patient suffers from postherpetic neuralgia even after the shingles clears up.

Anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamines, like Benadryl, and corticosteroids are helpful in calming the inflamed and itchy rashes. Antidepressants and anticonvulsants, like gabapentin, are also commonly prescribed to patients. These can suppress the nervous system and relieve pain, making the condition more bearable and comfortable for them.

What are the natural treatments for this?

Topical lotions, like calamine, petroleum jelly and other unscented creams soothe irritation and reduce itching. You can also buy Burow’s solution or known as aluminium acetate solution at pharmacies and it helps the blisters to dry quicker and to stop oozing. Oral colloidal silver is an antiviral dietary supplement and it reduces the proliferation of viruses in the body, controlling the intensity of the disease.

Several natural treatment options are also available through oatmeal baths to soothe the rash, cornstarch to dry the blisters and capsaicin (pepper extract) to reduce pain. Vitamin supplements and lysine-rich foods that have protein and dairy products are known to increase the body’s immunity against viruses, inhibit viral replication, speed up healing and decrease nerve pain. Proteolytic enzyme supplements can prevent viral replication, decrease the severity and shorten the duration of shingles.

Herbal remedies like lemon balm, licorice and passionflower reduce anxiety and pain and these can even counter the herpes zoster virus. Aside from these, keeping the affected area clean and dry and wearing loose or airy clothes is important to prevent further bacterial infection. Applying cool compresses or soaking the blistered skin in cool water may relieve pain and help crusted blisters fall off.

If shingles spreads to your face, nose or eyes, you should visit a doctor immediately to avoid the development of serious complications.

Can I get injections or vaccinations to fight this disease?

The vaccination for chickenpox (VZV) can usually protect both children and young adults from the zoster virus but its effectiveness reduces as one ages. Recently, a new vaccine called Zostavax has been approved for use in patients over 60. It has been successful in reducing its shingles cases by about 50% amongst vaccinated adults and also in decreasing the severity of it from those who had contracted the infection.

Is this skin disease contagious?

Everyone, including you must be careful because it is contagious and care must be taken while coming in contact with an infected person. A person who has not had chickenpox will most probably contract it. However, he or she cannot get it directly from another shingles-affected individual. The time that the person will get it is when he or she has direct or indirect contact with the fluid in the blisters. Fluid in the blisters is infectious. Clothes and towels that have touched shingles-infected skin should be disinfected by washing in hot water before being used by someone else.

The ways on, how do you treat shingles will surely be helpful in reducing your discomfort while getting this healed. Even no medication can help to clear this up immediately, antiviral and natural treatments can help speed up the healing process and reduce the duration and intensity of the illness. Patients are, therefore, advised to rest and supplement themselves with a healthy diet and medicines prescribed by their doctor to soothe pain, calm the inflamed areas and have a speedy recovery as possible.

How to relieve Shingles pain

Shingles relief

Image source: NIAID on Flickr

Once you have shingles, it is urgent to treat it. While the matter is with shingles relief, every step taken during the initial stages can undoubtedly save you from nasty damages. To avoid the pain and panic, know the initial remedies and medical measures to treat your nasty skin disease accurately, making it heal faster.

If you had never caught shingles, now is the best time to learn how to treat it and what to avoid so you will know what to do in case you become affected by this disease. Aside from that, you may also prevent having shingles. If you have caught Shingles already, don’t worry, you can minimize it with proper tools and methods of treatments. There are many ways to opt for in order to heal shingles properly and one of the easiest ways is to do it at your home.

Under severe conditions, you need to have a medical consultation and take prescribed medicines, as well as changing your lifestyle. However, the most important of all is you need to know what exactly shingles is and how someone can be a victim of this skin disease. Of course, you do not need to have an encyclopedic knowledge on entire medical science to treat shingles but some information will help you safeguard yourself against the panic, despair and utter pain of being infected by Shingles.

What is Shingles?

Shingles is caused by a virus attack called Varicella-Zoster and it is the same virus that is responsible for making patients suffer from Chicken Pox. Your itchy and blistery skin could be the sign of this disease. Moreover, it might cause an inflammation to your cranial nerve or spinal area. If you have seen someone else being attacked with this before, you are lucky to know how it would harm you and by this, you are already prepared. If you have not seen the symptoms of shingles yet, you might wrongly guess the skin disease you have got. So, as soon as you see any inflammation or blister on your skin, do not disregard this. Act as soon as possible to treat this. The most common victims of this disease are people of old age who were affected by chicken pox during their childhood. Some may also be affected if their mothers had shingles during pregnancy.

How to relieve it against itch and pain?

Use an ice-water soaked cloth on the blister for 20 to 25 minutes. You should observe and see the signs of pain reduction after doing this. If the pain persists, repeat the process again. Keep repeating this procedure until the pain subsides and when you feel more comfortable. If you are not able to avail ice immediately, get your cloth soaked in water and apply this on the affected area for the time being. You should collect ice after using this.

Upon consultation with your physician, you will certainly prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin to lessen the pain and antiviral drugs such as Valaciclovir, Famciclovir and Aciclovir to reduce inflammation.

Try availing local anesthetic cream which can be used topically on the blisters in accordance with what your physician prescribes. Avoid buying unknown over-the-counter creams because these can produce side effects and may turn your skin into its worst and ugliest condition. Buy lotions or creams containing calamine.

Follow these procedures:

  • Soak 1 tablespoon of dried lemon balm leaves in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes (Boiled water is preferred on this occasion). Do this three to four times a day. Lemon balm consists of citric acid which stops the further reproduction of virus and helps the blister heal fast. You can also use zinc and selenium which are available in an antioxidant formula.
  • Get adequate meals daily. Try to consume more fruits and vegetables so you will have enough resistance to fight the virus existing in your body. Try to get enough rest so you will have a stronger immune system. Since the healing of shingles requires natural remedies or doctor prescribed medications, do not waste your time waiting for it to heal on its own. As long as the virus is in your body, you need to consistently receive proper medical treatment and effective medication.
  • If you are buying medicines again and the sores become dry, you may apply corn starch or baking soda while waiting for your medicines.

Things to Remember

  • People, who have caught chicken pox earlier, have greater probability of being struck by shingles. So, if you are on your 60s, you should be more aware of its symptoms and prepare for it.
  • In order to stay away from scratching, cut your fingernails and consider wearing gloves. Under severe conditions, gloves will save you from random scratching. Scratching will allow you to spread the disease into other parts of the body.
  • Avoid piercing the blisters because popped blisters will result in having ugly scars or body marks.
  • Shingles may cause you eye problems if the surrounding nerves of your eyes are infected. In this case, you need to immediately contact an eye-specialist.

How many days will Shingles rashes fade?

After the blisters popped, Shingles’ scabs and crust will normally fade within 7 – 10 days. Some may get vaccines to prevent the shingles from coming again.

Whatever the reasons are, it is very important to know the shingles relief. As pain becomes consistent or becomes worse, you will surely could not endure it. However, shingles treatment may require proper care and maintenance as well. You may need to leave your bad health habits and follow a healthier lifestyle in order to get the desired longevity but first of all you, need to become free from depression. Depression can be one of the worst effects as this skin disease makes the patient look ugly. If you are depressed, your physician will prescribe you to take anti-depressant drugs. Since there are proper treatments available, you don’t have to be depressed at all. Get well and make yourself beautiful again inside and out.

Natural remedies for shingles

natural remedies for shinglesNatural remedies for shingles are still preferred by many. Varicella-Zoster virus, which is responsible for Chicken Pox as well, is causing shingles. Symptoms of shingles are emerging in adulthood after a significantly latent period. Individuals who are attacked by shingles usually get fever, stomach ache, rashes with itch, blisters, chills and pain. Patients can automatically recover from Shingles within weeks but during the skin disease starting and finishing stage, patients will experience extensive discomfort and desolation. You could be prescribed to have drugs like Zovirax, Prednisone, and Valtrex by your physician in order to make the skin disease heal faster but since taking antiviral drugs and painkillers have side effects, you may opt to look for ways to recover naturally if you will follow the instructions below.

Simple Processes To Take

  • Drink as much as 3 to 4 cups of green tea per day because antiviral properties of the green tea can help you start getting rid of the symptoms.
  • Homeopathic components such as Arsenicum album can treat the burning sensation associated with shingles. It is recommended to use a dosage of 30c for 3 days, two times daily. Later reduce the strength to 12c to see the further improvement. If you can see the improvement, stop using this. In case of its failure to make the patient improve his or her condition, try Rhus Toxicodendron, Apis Mellifica, or Clematis Erecta. A homeopathic expert can better assist you with this and advise you which option you should use.
  • Alfalfa, Cayenne, Astragalus root, Dandelion, red clover, and other herbs promote healing of shingles. Aside from healing, you can use these herbs to relieve itch and pain on the rashes but keep in mind that these may have possible side effects if were used with other drugs. So, check for this before you decide to use these herbs.
  • Some useful oils work better for the natural remedy of shingles. These can bring relief and can heal shingles faster. Use Lemon, Bergamot, and Eucalyptus oils to derive desired results. Put a few drops of these oil essences diluted with Olive oil and massage this on your painful rashes or blisters.
  • Soothe blisters by dabbing a cotton on hydrogen peroxide and rub it on the affected area. Doing this will prevent blister infections. Consider dabbing a cotton on an organic apple cider vinegar (Test the acidity first on your skin. Start with a teaspoon amount) diluted in water and then, apply this on the painful shingles area.

Shingles will surely make you look ugly which results in lower self-esteem to the point that you don’t want to go out of your house. Also, it is a threatening disease to the public. Although people cannot get shingles just by talking, coughing and sneezing with you but you might still infect them if your skin with rashes touches them. So, take care of separating yourself from other people until you are completely free from this skin disease.

Cool Water Application

Low temperature undoubtedly helps patients get rid of pain associated with shingles. Using cool water can be a good treatment for patients who want to have pain and itch relief. It is strongly recommended for patients to take cool baths or showers on regular intervals. Using natural kitchen ingredients like baking soda or oatmeal will definitely help patients relieve itching. Application of wet compress as an alternative for shower or bath can also help. Vitamin-E oil and Aloe Vera are nutritious for the skin; applying a small amount of these on a warm compress will also help.

Changing Diet

In accordance with the guidelines of health authorities, healthy diet can sooth the condition of blisters to a lot of degree. Taking diet such as eating non-processed sugar, vegetables and fruits (canned or natural) can prevent infection further and better than other foods. Citrus Fruits, Bell Peppers, Strawberries, Brussels sprouts, Tomatoes, and Guava are perfect examples of Vitamin-C enriched foods. Hazelnuts, Almonds, Papayas, Avocados, leafy greens such as Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, etc are examples of Vitamin-E enriched foods. All of those, helps individuals to get comfort from the disgusting blisters caused by shingles. As long as those are taken on a regular basis, the severity of shingles will become less. Taking proper diet is the best way to prevent and heal shingles. These foods can also help patients keep their body fit and healthy.

Taking Supplements

It will be okay if patients will take supplements along with healthy diets according to the Health-Guidance. An individual can take 1,000 mg per day of Vitamin-C which can easily dissolve in water. Vitamin-E supplements can be received before meals in accordance with the supplement’s instructions. These supplements can help the patient recover from pain related to shingles. Also, Vitamin B-12 can be taken by injections or vaccines in order to relieve the pain. Consult with a physician first so you will know if you can take these supplements and vaccines.

Find a Physician

Though you are taking natural remedies, you should consult with your physician about what you are going to do with the natural treatment. Taking casual approach to treat shingles may cause severe damage to your health. Natural remedy does not mean that it is 100% safe. Also, if the natural remedy fails to help you recover completely, you should not waste your time and you should contact a physician as early as possible. The physician or doctor will decide if you need special treatment or you can still continue with the natural treatment. Your physician can prescribe antiviral drugs which can accelerate the process of healing and lessen complications. Anticonvulsant drugs could be prescribed as well. Topical numbing agents, gabapentin, antidepressants, etc can be included within the prescription. Your physician will also suggest you if you should continue natural treatment along with these drugs.

The main objective of the treatment is to heal from shingles. You can opt for any kind of sophisticated treatments as long as you can benefit from these. However, before starting with natural remedies for shingles, it is recommended to consult with your trusted physician.

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Shingle Rash

An acute, unilateral, self-limiting inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, specifically the cerebral ganglia and the ganglia of the posterior nerve roots, and peripheral nerves caused by the Varicella Zoster virus which presents initially as a red rash that later accumulate fluid to form vesicles is a disease called Shingles. It is also referred to as Herpes Zoster, or simply, Zoster. Beginning as red, slightly elevated, circumscribed lesions that, in the course of 7-10 days, develop into vesicles and later dry up forming crusts in the characteristic and definitive Shingle Rash.

CHICKEN POX VS. SHINGLES

Varicella Zoster virus is the main culprit of both these two clinically distinct diseases. Primary infection of the mentioned virus causes Chicken Pox. It is characterized by vesicular rash or lesions developing of the face, trunk and extremities. The rash usually starts midline of the person’s body and spreads towards the sides and extremities. Herpes Zoster, also well known as Shingles, results from the awakening or reactivation of endogenous latent Varicella Zoster virus. This form of disease is characterized by a painful, unilateral, vesicular rash, which usually occurs in a restricted band along the skin following the underlying affected nerve pathway.

 

CLINICAL MANIFESTATIONS OF SHINGLES

The Shingle Rash

The rash of Herpes Zoster starts as erythematous papules (red, circumscribed elevation of skin with no visible fluid), which quickly evolve into clustered vesicles (small, fluid-filled skin sacs or blisters measuring less than 5 millimeters in diameter) or bullae (fluid-filled skin blister more than 5mm in diameter). Within three to four days, these fluid-filled lesions become more elevated and occasionally hemorrhagic. In immunocompetent hosts, or those people of strong immune system, the Shingle Rash will dry up and crust by 7 to 10 days and are no longer considered infectious.

The inflammation is usually unilateral, involving the thoracic, cervical, or cranial nerves in a band-like configuration. The blisters are usually confined to a narrow region of the face or trunk. The region of the skin affected that follows the underlying affected nerve path is called the dermatome. The Shingle rash is often found clustered and confined within a dermatome. This dermatome can remain depigmented and hypoalgesic, or having little to no sensitivity to pain.

Herpes zoster in generally healthy adults is usually localized and benign. The Shingle rash and inflammation is commonly limited to one dermatome in healthy hosts, but can occasionally affect two or more neighboring dermatomes. However, in immunosuppressed patients, the disease may be severe and may be acutely disabling.

Acute Neuritis or Nerve Pain

Pain is the most common symptom of Herpes Zoster. Approximately 75% of affected people experience prodromal pain on the affected dermatome where the Shingle rash will subsequently appear. Prodromal pain, which may radiate over the entire region supplied by the affected nerves. The pain may be burning, lancinating (tearing or sharply cutting), stabbing, or aching. The pain may be constant or intermittent preceding the Shingle rash for several days to weeks. Some individuals describe the pain only when the affected region of the body is touched or induced by simple mild brushing against the skin.

This pre-eruptive pain precedes the rash for several days and is often misdiagnosed. It is often mistaken as Myocardial infarction, dental pain, biliary or renal colic and other gastrointestinal disturbances such as duodenal ulcer and appendicitis.

Atypical Pain without Shingle Rash

This phenomenon is called “zoster sine herpete”. The nerve pain is not accompanied nor preceded by a skin lesion eruption, though this is noted in very rare cases only.

 

COMMON NERVE PATHWAYS AFFECTED

Before getting into the specifics of the nerve pathways affected by this dreaded Herpes Zoster, let us first review the basics of the Peripheral Nervous System and nerve paths. A picture will be presented below to clearly illustrate the different groups of peripheral nerves, namely the Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar and Sacral nerves, and the body regions it corresponds. These body regions are the so-called dermatomes that the nerves are responsible in both the sensory and motor abilities. 

Nerve Dermatomes

 

Cranial Nerves. When the virus invades the cranial nerves, the skin lesions, inflammation and pain is felt in most the face. Patient may have eye pain, or may experience the opposite, which is loss of feeling in one or both eyes. Infection in the cranial nerves often contaminate the ophthalmic nerves thus the eye involvement. The infection may even threaten one’s vision. The rash may appear starting from the scalp, around the eyes then down to the tip of the nose, called the Hutchinson’s sign. The prodromal pain will be felt upto the ear area and may can temporary hearing loss of some ringing in the ears. Loss of taste and dry mouth may also be detected.

Cervical Nerves. The Shingle rash is usually seen starting from the back of the neck or the nape, central line and spreading to either left or right side of the body, to the shoulders down to the forearm. This dermatome is supplied by the cervical nerves. The skin lesions will be contained in this dermatome, usually along a single band. The inflammation and skin lesions may cause pain with the slightest touch or movement.

Thoracic Nerves. The thoracic nerves are responsible for the motor and sensory of the trunk, including the anterior and posterior chest, abdomen, down to just above the buttocks area. When the Varicella Zoster virus infects the thoracic nerves, the skin rash and inflammation are more likely to be seen at the above mentioned body regions. The classical pattern for shingles follows a nerve root from the spine, along a rib, to the front of the chest. The spread follows a media-distal pattern, or from the center of the body outwards to the extremities. The inflammation and skin rashes may cause pain also with the slightest touch especially with clothing with is excruciating and almost miserable.

 

TAKING GOOD CARE OF SHINGLE RASH

Avoid picking at and, let alone, scratching the skin sores. (Doing so will further deepen the sores, or maybe open up those already dried up lesions.

Cool, moist compresses over the lesions. (This can be done if doing so helps ease the discomfort. This can help decrease the itchiness because cold compresses constrict blood vessels that will therefore lessen sensory.)

Use calamine lotion after compresses, though not recommended.

Apply cornstarch or baking soda to skin blisters. (The cornstarch and baking soda can help dry up the skin sores quickly. This is not recommended especially when the blisters are open for it may contaminate the lesions. Use with caution.)

Use tap water or Burow’s solution soak. (Soaking the skin lesions help clean put crusts, decrease oozing and soothe the itchy skin.)

 

Remember, the Shingle rash will get the best out of you. But knowing what to expect and what to do will lessen the burden.

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.

Pain medication for shingles

Painkiller for shingles

Shingles is a viral skin infection that looks like a chicken pox except that it focuses only on an area of the body. Shingles can be very painful and one wants to make the pain go away as fast as possible.  While medicine can reduce inflammation and can shorten the healing process, it can also reduce the chances of having shingles complications such as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) or disseminated zoster.

Then, what is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) or disseminated zoster?

Disseminated zoster or known as disseminated shingles is fatal and a more alarming condition of shingles. It can invade the blood stream or body organs, such as the lungs or brain. One needs to be admitted to the hospital with a visual examination including steroidal and antiviral drugs, to ease symptoms and prevent complications.

So to avoid this level of complication, antiviral medicines and pain killers are needed.

Would buying over-the-counter painkillers instead of going to a physician is enough?

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 ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin. In their homes, percocet, vicodin, medications aiming the nerves such as gabapentin or tricyclic medications such as nortriptyline, desipramine, or amitriptyline could be used. But still, prescribed pain medications 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 medicines that would also treat the pain are Nerve block injections and Opioid painkiller known as Tramadol.

Warning: Tramadol should not be taken at the same time as tricycylic antidepressants, which are also used for long-lasting pain after shingles.

Commonly, shingles pain can be treated by medicines that can be used as well in treating epilepsy and depression. These medicines could change the nervous system to treat the pain. Advantages against disadvantages of taking painkillers must be weighted.

Be careful with placebos. A placebo is a dummy medicine that contains no active substances. Aside from feeling better from pain, healing process and condition must be observed. If side effects are dominant, just consult again to a physician and ask for medicine re-prescription.

How about combining medicines for pain relief?

If taking one medicine does not help, combining medicines may work together like combining gabapentin or neurontin with an opioid painkiller.

Combining medicines are common and physicians often prescribe these. One example is combining anti-inflammatory drugs plus opioid drugs such as morphine, hydrocodone or vicodin. Using this combination maximizes pain relief. If painkillers were combined with non-pain killers, sedation and drowsiness might occur. Doctors must be careful in prescribing and combining painkillers with anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants, and other medications that also have sedating properties such as anticonvulsant drugs for it might result to an addictive effect.

While taking opioids, these are the side effects that may be found out: Dizziness, Constipation, Drowsiness and general illness feeling.

I don’t want to take pills or tablets. Is there a topical medicine to alleviate pain?

There are topical medicines that are specialized in immediate pain relief. The best topical medicines out there contain capsaicin or lidocaine.

It is best to get oral medicines together with topical medicines so you can manage the pain and at the same time be healed faster so you can fight the zoster virus and continue your normal activities.

Painkiller medicine comparison

 Everyone who has pain is considering taking painkillers. There are many painkillers for shingles but how would one know which one is the best.  Different painkillers work better if one knows the differences between those. In case of pain originated from the virus or nerves as shingles, here is the comparison made for the most popular painkillers.

Paracetamol

Paracetamol is used by patients to treat headaches and non-nerve pains. 2-4 tablets a day is a safe dosage for adults. This medicine can be taken within long periods since it generally doesn’t have side effects.

If pain is severe, don’t try to increase dosage that it might result to serious side effects. If the pain lasts for more than three days, have a consultation with your physician.

Aspirin

Aspirin is often used to relieve only minor aches and pains but it is dangerous to give this painkiller to children under 12 years of age.

Ibuprofen

This non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), Ibuprofen, works better when pain was caused by an inflammation of shingles.

Nortriptyline

This drug must not be taken if a person with shingles has heart attack or if being treated with methylene blue injection.

Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen)

Percocet is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Percocet should not be used if one have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or other narcotic medications.

Taking more than the recommended medication may lead to liver damage or death. If experiencing nausea, pain in upper stomach, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes), a doctor must be called immediately.

Amitriptyline and Gabapentin

Amitriptyline is a drug for depression while gabapentin is a drug for epilepsy. These medicines can also be used to treat pain caused by nervous system damage.  An affected person doesn’t need to be depressed or have epilepsy to take this drug. Side effects caused by these painkillers are drowsiness and dizziness.

Morphine

Morphine and morphine-like drugs such as oxycodone, fentanyl and buprenorphine are the strongest painkillers out there. Morphine may be packaged as a patch as well. This medicine must be only used for severe pain and nothing else. Because of its strength, careful monitoring of dosage and its effect will be made by a physician or pain specialist. Morphine is used for a long term solution to manage pain.

Does a pack of ice help in relieving shingles?

A pack of ice helps in relieving pain through placing it on the affected area. It eases the pain, itching and burning sensation.

The duration of putting an ice pack to the skin must be observed since prolonged use of ice pack can lead to local tissue damage.

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Can a Child get Shingles?

Most of you may be wondering, “Can a child get shingles?”. The answer is a big fat YES. You can get Shingles at almost any age, and about five percent of cases occur during childhood, or in persons aged fifteen and below.

A battle with the itchy Chicken pox rash used to be a battle almost every child endure. But thanks to the developments in the world of vaccines, we can say goodbye to that annoying itch. Though being in this modern of an age, some still suffer this condition. And the earlier in life the child get Chicken pox, especially acquiring Chicken pox before turning three years old or being a child of a mom with Chicken pox during her third trimester of pregnancy, the bigger the chance he or she can acquire this dreadful Shingle rash during childhood. So, Yeah! To state the unfortunate truth, a child can get Shingles.

Herpes Zoster, or Zoster, or Shingles is assumed to be a reactivation of a latent or dormant, or in layman’s term, sleeping varicella virus infection and is perceived to be due to lowered immunity. After being itch-free and finishing the Chickenpox course (more like a curse), it is believed that this creeps aka Varicella Zoster virus lie dormant inside the nerve cells near the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). When these sleeping viruses are awakened and reactivated, Lo and behold, the occurrence of Shingles.             

 

SHINGLES FAST FIVE

  1. Shingles is also known medically as Zoster or Herpes Zoster.
  2. Shingles in caused by the Varicella Zoster Virus, similar to the cause of Chicken pox.
  3. Shingles can occur only, and only if, someone already has had run the course of Chicken pox. It is assumed to be a reactivation.
  4. Shingles in children are pretty rare and are usually occurring with mild clinical manifestations.
  5. Shingles is self-limiting, similar to almost all viral infections, and resolves in more or less, a month or thirty days.

 

HOW COMMON IS SHINGLES?       

       Disease Occurrence and Prevalence

Almost one out of three (33.33 percent) of people in the United States of America will develop Shingles or Herpes Zoster in the course of their lifetime. It is estimated that there are four cases of Herpes Zoster per one thousand (4 in 1,000) population. Nearly a million Americans go through this excruciatingly painful and itchy experience every year. Older adults are more likely to get the disease. About half or 50 percent of all cases occur in men and women aged 60 years and/or older. The incidence among people 60 years of age and older is about 10 cases per 1,000 people annually. And, only about five percent of cases (5 in 10,000 cases) occur during childhood, or in people aged 15 and below.

       Repeat Episode Occurrence

Studies show that Shingles can occur, and then reoccur, in an average of two to three episodes during a person’s lifetime, though the annual incidence of repeat episodes is still not known. Although usually, throughout one lifetime, a person can only manage 2 repeat episodes unless he or she is severely immuno-compromised. Such as children and adults with cancer and other immuno-depressive conditions.

 

SHINGLES SYMPTOMS IN GENERAL

The red rash is small, fluid-filled blisters, that shows up in clusters following a path of a nerve. The lesions is commonly accompanied or preceded by pain, which may be contained or spread throughout the entire dermatome of the affected nerve pathway. The pain may still be present after 30 days since the rash began.

 

SHINGLES SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN Herpes-zoster-child

Shingles presentation in adults and children are somewhat similar and different in many ways. Classic Herpes Zoster symptoms that present in adults are not at all detected in children suffering the same disease, which may make diagnosis difficult. It is often misdiagnosed as other more common skin rashes in children, such as impetigo, eczema or even poison ivy.

The Shingles rash occurring children often don’t have much pain, or even, don’t have any pain at all. They still get the same red rash which appears in clusters in a single band following a nerve path. A child that gets Shingles won’t have to worry getting the rash all over his or her body because the Herpes Zoster rash stays along its band of skin supplied by the affected nerve pathway called the dermatome, and it usually occurs only to one side of the body.

Usually occurring with less pain or no pain at all, children affected with Shingles also less frequently experience postherpetic neuralgia, or a pain in the affected nerve that last for 30 days or a month.

Children getting Shingles won’t really feel sick or ill, and usually is afebrile during the course of the disease.

 

TAKING CARE OF CHILDREN WITH SHINGLES

Despite the aforementioned self-limiting feature of Herpes Zoster, one may still want to do some interventions for such a disease. In taking care of children with Shingles, the same goes with adults too, the approach is really just symptomatic care or palliative care. This means, the interventions will be directed not to directly eliminate the cause, which in this case is the Varicella Zoster Virus (this one seems impossible since a virus can only be dormant but not totally killed), but to only provide relief to the discomfort brought about by the clinical manifestations.

Most children as said above, will experience less pain or none at all. Only if needed, one can give Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. The itch of the rash can be alleviated through frequent bathing. No cream or ointment is needed for the rash. Also scratching, picking or bursting the rash is highly discouraged.

Children with Shingles or Herpes Zoster can transmit Chickenpox, but not Shingles, to others. Transmission will occur through direct contact with the rash. Though not as contagious as children with Chicken pox, the child affected is advised to stay out of school unless the rash can be kept covered until it dries and crusts over.

 

CAN A CHILD REALLY GET SHINGLES?

After all that’s been said, bottom line is, no one is safe from Shingles, of course with exemption to those vaccinated against Varicella Zoster Virus. Shingles or Herpes Zoster saves no one from its extremely itchy and painful clustered red rash. No regards of a person’s age and/or gender. Ensure a child is of optimum health to avoid being one of the 5 in 10,000.

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.