Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Even if you have already been infected by chickenpox, the virus could still remain dormant in your system and reactivate as shingles. 

 

Shingles is a viral infection that causes painful rash or blisters in the skin during an outbreak. The rash most often appears as a band of rashes or blisters in one area of the body and could go away within 3 to 5 weeks. This condition can occur in the same person more than once. 

 

 

SYMPTOMS 

The signs and symptoms of shingles usually affect only one area of the body. These symptoms can include: 

  • Enlarged lymph nodes 
  • Fevers, chills, and headaches 
  • Raised rashes on the skin and redness in that area 
  • Stabbing pain 
  • Tingling and burning feeling under the skin 
  • Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over 

The most common symptom of shingles is pain. And it can be intense for some people. And some people experience shingles pain without developing the rash. 

 

CAUSES 

This infection is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which also causes the chickenpox. This virus stays dormant in your system after chickenpox and reactivates as shingles. Weakened immune system might be the reason why the virus “wakes-up”. After you have been infected by the chickenpox, you’re more likely to have shingles if you: 

  • Are 50 or older 
  • Have cancer, HIV or any diseases that might lower your immune system 
  • Are under a lot of stress 
  • Are taking long-term steroids 

 

TREATMENT 

Antiviral drugs can most likely help you heal faster from shingles. They are most effective if they are taken within the first 3 days on the onset of symptoms. Treatment for shingles pain is also advisable to help you manage the pain, which can include: 

  • Anticonvulsant medicines 
  • Colloidal oatmeal baths 
  • Cool compresses 
  • Medicated lotion 
  • Numbing medications like lidocaine 
  • Over the counter drugs like ibuprofen 
  • Prescription painkillers 

 

You can spread the varicella zoster virus to people who never had chickenpox or haven’t been vaccinated. You are contagious until all your blisters have crusted over. Also, if you are infected with shingles, it is advisable that you avoid pregnant women, immuno-compromised people, and newborns so as not to spread or pass the virus to them. 

There is also a Shingrix vaccine that is considered to be more than 90% effective. The FDA and CDC recommends two doses of these vaccine for the prevention of shingles. The shingles vaccine is not intended to treat people who are currently infected by the virus. You can talk to your Doral specialists to discuss vaccines appropriate for you and your health condition. Call us today at 718-DORAL-55.