Shingles is an infection caused by a virus called Varicella zoster which equals the virus that causes chickenpox. After chicken pox is over, this virus can live in your nervous system for many years before it stimulates to shingles. Herpes zoster is another name used to refer to shingles.
People who are most likely to be affected by shingles are those who have been infected by chickenpox in the past and older adults who are between the age of 60 to 80 years old. This is because they have a low immune system that cannot fight against the virus. The other group of people who are at risk are those who:
- Have cancer
- Hiv and aids positive patients
- Those who have ever have chemotherapy
- Have used drugs like steroids that weaken immune
- Have undergone organ transplant
- Going to begin a drug that lower immune system
The earliest symptom is a red skin rash that causes pain and burning feeling. Shingles comes off in layers in one side of the body mainly neck, face, chest and stomach. The red rash has the following disturbing properties which include:
- Criaz itching
- Rashes appearing on the face and neck
- Blisters filled with fluid that easily breaks
- Rashes that appears around from spine to the torso
Other symptoms occur outwith pain and rashes. These may include:
- Headache pain
- Chills and
- Weak muscles
- Dermatis herpetiforms.
This is a disease that people with celiac diseases can get.
Insects bites. They look exactly like shingles but they are not shingles
Impetigo. It's a skin infection caused by mostly bacteria
Scabies. This is a skin state caused by mites
All the conditions above give you a sign of shingles as it has the entire characteristic which includes fever, headache, chills and fever.
Apart from those signs there are more serious complications but rare symptom these include:
- Pain or rashes at the eyes which one must seek treatment to avoid permanent eye damage
- Loss of hearing or loss of taste, dizziness which can be signs of Ramsay hunt syndrome
- Bacterial infection that may cause skin to lose its sensitivity for touch
It can be diagnosed by physical examination of rushes and blisters. It is very rare for doctors to test a sample of your skin but if need be then you will be tested. Doctors can use sterile swab equipments to carry samples of tissues or fluid, samples are taken to medical laboratory to affirm presence of virus. you can also get diagnosed if you are undergoing organ transplant, have weakened immune system or you are going to begin a drug that lowers the immune system, then the doctor will comfortably diagnose you.
Shingles has no cure but to prevent it, vaccines and some prescribed medications are provided. There are two types of treatment that is natural treatments and medications.
Medications that are prescribed include:
- Antiviral medications
This medication slows down shingle rash progress. They can and might slow the chances of having complications. These include,
- Acyclovir (zorivax)
- Famciclovir (famvir)
- Valcyclovir (valtex)
This reduces pain and inflammation once you are affected. If the symptom persists then seek medical attention do not continue using it. They include
- Naproxen acetaminophen
Other prescriptions include
Caspian cream applied at the affected are. Do not apply it in your eyes or closer.
Antibiotics: is only applicable if bacteria is involved
Try cyclic antidepressants: help to ease pain. These may include amitriptyline, desiprmine and nortriptyles.
Natural treatments for shingles
Shingles can not only be treated by medication but it can also be defeated by natural remedies. These are things that all humans can afford it does not matter your class. There are six types of natural remedies for treatments. This are
Keeping your body clean and cleaning the blisters reduces the risk of spreading the infection. You should take a cool bath or shower which eases pain and calm itchiness. Do not use hot water to bath. Hot water worsens shingles as it increases blood flow. After drying your body wash your towel to avoid spreading the infection.
- Cool compress
Apply a cool or moist compress on the affected area. This can be done by soaking cloth into cold water, wring out the water then apply the cloth on the blisters. The cooling effect makes the nerves to relax making the affected part been relaxed. The blisters will stop itching and just cool you can do this if the pain persists.
- Diet remedies
Some diets do change the body's immune system. Once affected try to change your diet so as to boost your immune by eating some specific foods and avoiding some
This food consists of vitamin A, B-12, C and E, and the amino acid lysine. These include eggs, chicken, legumes, green vegetables, red meat, oranges, beans, tomatoes, whole grains and dairy.
Foods to be avoided include fatty foods, juices, foods with high sugar concentration and refined carbohydrates. This foods are the once weakening our bodies immunity adding more diseases to our bodies. Avoiding this food is saving our own health.
- Herbal remedies
They help fight viruses s and fight insomnia and anxiety. They include melatonin, fatty acids, green tea, lemon balm, Echinacea, St John's wart, oregano oil. The herbal remedies are of natural occurrence which works when applied to the affected are smoothly.
For lemon balm for example squeeze the balm until the watery fluid occurs then apply it to the affected area, it's that simple same to the other remedies.
- Creams and lotio
You can create paste using baking soda and water to relieve itching. Pour baking soda into a cup, add one part water to get the desired consistency of the paste, then apply the mixture to your rushes then rinse it off. You can repeat the same procedure several times daily if need be.
Shingles can be preventive through vaccination; its vaccine is called Zostrax that was produced in the year 2006.
It is recommended to be given vaccine if you are 60 years or older but may also be helpful to those as young as 50 and below. The vaccine does not erase your chances of getting shingles but it minimizes the chance of developing shingles by a half.
Shingles takes two or three weeks to clear up from the skin and once this virus affects one person it cannot occur again to the same person. Its affection rate is 1:3, and once you have been affected by chicken be sure it will affect you again at some point in life.
The infected person should cover their bodies to minimize spread of the virus. They should maintain body cleanliness to avoid further infection.
Side effects of shingles
- Sore skin
- Skin redness
- Itching on skin surface
- Headache pain
What is Ramsey hunt syndrome?
This is a complication of shingles infection that occurs when Varicella zoster virus infects nerve inside the head. It also affects facial muscle and the inner ear. As we had stated before it does occur after shingles develops and worsen the status more making treatment more difficult.
Its symptoms include: hearing loss of one ear, abnormal sounds in one ear, pain in one ear that is intense, itchiness, dizziness, painful rash that runs over the ear, face, neck, scalp tongue on the roof of the mouth and lose of taste.
People who have been affected by shingles can encounter postherpetic neuralgia, in which pain continues after the blisters fall away. This occurs because the shingles damage nerve continues to redirect pain signals to the brain. In plan to be diagnosed of postherpetic neuralgia the pain has to last for 90 days or more after the blisters have diminished. From research done it is said to affect up to 20 percent of those with shingles.
Everything that slows down immunity increases the risk of postherpetic neuralgia. It subside over time in everyone but the rate of resolutions varies differently. It lasts longer as you get aged
If you experience a lot of pain prior to the rash, it places you at much higher risk of postherpetic neuralgia.
Factors that cause Postherpetic neuralgia
- Leukemia, lymphoma, and residue diseases that divert immune system
- A rash that is not available on the torso is also another factor
- Auto immune conditions
Drugs used to treat postherpetic neuralgia
- Trycyclic antidepressant
It may seem strange when doctors are prescribing this drug for shingles but are commonly used as shinglesis are at root which is now a nerve disorder at your skin.
Shingles and pregnancy
During pregnancy it is a rare occasion to get shingles, but it is possible for one to acquire it. When one comes into contact with someone who has been infected with chickenpox or a person infected with shingles, one can develop chickenpox if the recipient has not been vaccinated against the disease before.
It actually depends with your trimester which you are currently in, so as having chickenpox during pregnancy can result in birth infection. Shingles has a less probability to cause complication yet it can also be unpleasant. You will be required to visit you doctor right away if you develop a rash during the pregnancy period.
All the anti viral medicines can be used to treat shingles without any harm during pregnancy. The anti histamines can purposefully help you to reduce itching effect and on the other hand acetaminophen can cease the pain.
Other complication brought by shingles
These is a rare case but shingles can lead to the inflammation of brain lining or spinal cord and sometimes both which is also known as meningitis, which causes inflammation of the brain tissues.
Shingles can also lead to pneumonia which can also result to death.
You can also develop a bacterial infection with shingles which can lead to toxic shock syndrome. This will be brought out by scratching and improper care of the blister and can introduce bacterial skin infection.
It also increases the risk of heart attach sometimes after the infection, some may be at high risk of having a stroke or heart attack. It is found that shingles raises the risk of cardiovascular events. People of less than forty years are at a higher risk of stroke.
Shingles can also be found inside the eye and can be a serious problem if you have shingle rashes around your eyes. It is important to see an optician right away. Shingles can occur inside the eye lids or at the eyeball. If you have blisters on top of the nose then this is a symptom that there is inflammation inside the eye.
From the signs and symptom that we have seen, shingles is becoming also a killer disease due to different stages. Chickenpox is a disease that affects all humans in a lifetime even if it does not occur when you are young but still comes when you are older. That is why everyone is at a high risk of being affected.
As the saying goes prevention is better than cure that is the only way to survive in these state. We can prevent shingles once we know its signs, do not ignore if you see this sign because it digs the bones deeper. We should also practice eating balanced meal as it is also a prevention, having a high immunity system will prevent all these sickness. Take cautions to be on the safer track.