Doctors tell about possible manifestations of shingles

Anna CherkasovaSociety
Shingles can occur after chickenpox

Viruses and bacteria are always lurking in the environment and can cause numerous diseases. Throughout our lives, we try to resist infection in many ways: vaccination, healthy lifestyle, and strengthening our immune system. Unfortunately, infectious diseases are highly contagious and cannot always be prevented. In addition, they can lead to negative effects in the long term.

One example is shingles, an infectious disease caused by the Varicella Zoster virus (the same virus that causes chickenpox in children and adults). Following a consultation with Shilpa Amin, MD, MedicalNewsToday spoke about the possible manifestations of the disease and ways to alleviate them.

Many people perceive chickenpox as a common childhood disease that can be contracted only once in a lifetime. However, in fact, adults often get it too, and the course of the disease cannot be predicted at any age.

In addition, once people have chickenpox, they remain carriers of the virus for life. It may not manifest itself in any way for many years, but it can become active in the form of shingles.

Symptoms of shingles

As a rule, the disease affects one part of the body, such as the waist, chest, abdomen or back. However, the rash can also appear on the face, eyes, mouth, and even affect internal organs. Symptoms can be mild or severe and vary from person to person.

The main manifestations of shingles include:

A rash on the skin that resembles chickenpox but is localised to a specific area of the body;

Constant dull, sharp or shooting pain that waxes and wanes;

Fluid-filled blisters that develop as part of the rash.

Since shingles can appear anywhere, its symptoms will depend on the location.

For example, if it appears on the face, the rash is located around the eye and on the forehead and may be accompanied by pain over the affected area, muscle weakness, and headache. If the virus spreads to the optic nerve, it can manifest itself in swelling and redness of the eyes, and can lead to temporary or permanent vision loss.

Shingles can also appear in the ears and mouth. In this case, it is manifested by impaired hearing and balance, as well as damage to the soft and hard parts of the palate, toothache and discomfort when chewing food.

Affecting the internal organs, shingles will not cause a rash, but will lead to other problems. For example, research shows that the presence of the virus in the digestive system can lead to dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract and brain arteries, which in turn increases the risk of stroke and dementia.

Depending on the location of the herpes, the main symptoms may also include fever, stomach upset, chills, or fatigue.

How does shingles progress?

As a rule, the disease goes through several stages:

Pain, numbness, tingling, and itching appear on a certain area of the skin;

After 2 weeks, a rash appears;

Red spots continue to appear for 3-5 days, blisters with fluid form;

Blisters merge into a single painful spot;

Inflammation can affect the areas around the rash;

After 7-10 days, the blisters heal and fall off, leaving minor scars.

As with chickenpox, a person with shingles remains contagious to others from the moment the first blister appears until new rashes appear. It should be noted that the virus is not transmitted by airborne droplets, but only through direct contact with the fluid released from the blisters.

How to relieve the symptoms of shingles?

If the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor may suggest antiviral therapy to prevent the virus from spreading rapidly through the body. This can help relieve the symptoms of shingles, reduce the duration of the disease, and prevent recurrence.

In addition, during a recurrence of shingles, doctors recommend using painkillers, reducing stress as much as possible, eating a balanced diet, wearing loose clothing that does not irritate the skin, and distracting yourself with socialising or hobbies.

Usually, tinea symptoms disappear in a few weeks if you receive timely treatment and follow the recommendations of a specialist. However, in people with weakened immune systems, the disease can cause complications, sometimes quite serious, such as inflammation of the brain or spinal cord, post-herpetic neuralgia, blood vessel damage, pneumonia, balance, vision, or hearing problems.

That is why shingles is better prevented than treated, and the best way to do this is to get vaccinated against chickenpox in childhood or against shingles in adulthood.

Shingles can be treated without any symptoms in most people, but some will have serious complications. Unfortunately, we cannot always resist infection, but we can strengthen our immune system and lead a healthy lifestyle. Even if these simple methods cannot prevent the disease, they will contribute to its mild course and protect against its consequences.

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL told about the places of infection. The dermatologist stressed that on the seashore or near a city reservoir, you can encounter pathogens of head lice, scabies, leptospirosis, skin mycoses, and other diseases.

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