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Shingles

Shingles
Shingles-1 Shingles (alternatively known as herpes zoster) is a viral infection causing skin to develop “belts” of a painful, blistery rash on certain areas, usually around left or right side of the torso. It’s caused by varicella zoster virus that hibernates within the body of any person who has had chickenpox. This viral infection usually appears after a person’s immune system is weakened so that the virus, which is in hibernation, reactivates. Anyway, it’s still unclear how the virus stays locked dormant in neurons and why it reactivates at a certain point in time. Even though it’s not a serious condition, shingles is very painful and unpleasant, and can be very persistent. The rash usually lasts from two to four weeks, but in certain cases postherpetic neuralgia develops and it’s characterized by a stubborn nerve pain occurring on the afflicted skin region.

What Causes Shingles?

The main culprit is varicella zoster virus, but since it lies inactive in nerve tissue near the spinal cord and suddenly bursts out, it’s believed that poor immunity can trigger shingles. This unpleasant skin condition usually affects older people and those whose immune system is worn out due to illness or stress. Before the rash and blisters appear, the affected people have headaches, fever, tingling and burning sensations, pain and itching. One of the greatest concerns is whether shingles is contagious or not. The virus can be transmitted to a person who has never had chickenpox and in that situation the person who gets infected doesn’t develop shingles but chickenpox which can be especially dangerous to some categories such as:

 

  • People whose immune system is weak;
  • Newborn infants;
  • Pregnant women.

 

Those categories shouldn’t be in contact with shingles affected persons as long as they have a rash because fluid from blister is highly contagious. Before blisters appear and after they turn into crusts, the person is not contagious. It’s important to distinguish herpes zoster from herpes simplex virus, as many people tend to confuse them. Herpes simplex virus has two types – type 1 known as oral herpes and type 2 known as genital herpes. Herpes zoster or shingles is a completely different virus and is just one among 8 herpes types. If you are stricken by shingles or any other type of herpes, our expert staff can help you get the best care.

How to Treat Shingles?

Shingles-2

 

First of all, it’s important to say that in many cases shingles can be prevented by getting the vaccine. It’s recommended for people over the age of 60, no matter whether they have had this viral infection before or not. There are certain side effects, and in some cases this vaccine doesn’t prevent shingles, but even so it can reduce its severity. See your doctor and check if the vaccine is recommended for you. Even though there is no cure for shingles because the virus can’t be removed from the body, there are prescription medications administered to alleviate the symptoms and prevent complications, so the first treatment that is received is antiviral – Acyclovir, Valacyclovir or Famicyclovir. Another problem with shingles is pain, and over-the-counter pain killers such as ibuprofen can be used, but with extreme care. In certain cases, antidepressants (amitriptyline) as well as numbing agents (lidocaine) can also be prescribed. Topical antibiotics that are rubbed on the skin are used to prevent infection of the blisters.

 

We’re offering you a first-class shingles treatment in our clinic. Call us and make an appointment.

 

Book a visit on 04 452 9998
or by filling the online form
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