Are you having painful rash of small blisters on your body?
It is the condition called as shingles, also known as herpes zoster.
You can get shingles only if you have got chicken pox previously.
The reason for getting shingles after you have chicken pox is the virus that causes chicken pox stays in your body in certain nerve cells.
Most of the time the chicken pox virus remains inactive in nerve root cells of the body.
As you get older or if your immune system gets weaker, the chicken pox virus awakens within the nervous system and escapes from there to cause shingles.
What are the signs to identify shingles?
Shingles include blistering rash, severe burning pain, tingling or extreme sensitivity to the skin. It usually limits to one side of the body and lasts about a month. Sometimes, you experience the pain few days before the rash appears.
When your rash becomes worst, the pain can be extremely severe. The rash begins with reddish bumps. Within few days, the bumps turn into blisters. You also feel stinging or burning pain.
The rash can be a patch of raised dots on side of trunk, face, abdomen, arms or legs. The location of rash is the identification that the infection is shingles.
Do you know what causes shingles?
Shingles is caused by the same virus, varicella zoster that causes chicken pox. The virus, after infecting the person with chicken pox, retreats to the nervous system where it remains inactive for many years.
It reappears in the form of shingles when your immune system is weakened, or as a result of severe illness, extreme stress or a therapy involving suppression of the immune system. It is more common in elderly people whose immune system is weakened.
Shingles is not a contagious disease as it occurs only when the virus become active. Contact with an infected person will not cause shingles but could lead to chicken pox in someone who has never had chicken pox and has not taken the varicella vaccine.
How shingles can be treated?
The main goal to treat the disease is to reduce pain and discomfort. The blisters are to be healed and the disease is to be prevented from spreading.
It is often treated with medications which include acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir. Once you notice the painful rash with blisters, talk to the doctor so that he can decide which of these medications work for you.
Sometimes, home care is required to treat the rash of shingles. Using a medicated lotion on the blisters might reduce the pain and itching. Putting cool compresses soaked in an astringent liquid on the blisters and sores can make itching less.
There is no cure for shingles but symptoms can be controlled if treated at an early stage before the blisters begin to appear.