Shingles, Chickenpox, and Varicella-Zoster Viruses
Shingles is also known as herpes zoster which is a viral infection. This condition usually causes a painful rash and appears like a band of blister that wraps the upper extremities of your body from your back and to the side of the chest that runs along your breastbone. Other body parts like your face, scalp and neck may be affected as well. It is also defined as the second eruption of viruses known to be “varicella-zoster”; these are the same type of viruses that can cause chickenpox. Once you had chickenpox, even if you’re already healed from it, the virus is still there lying inactively or dormant in your system and years later it may be reactivated that will cause you to have shingles.
A person who is affected by shingles may experience excruciating pain and sometimes the causes of it may not be immediately visible. However, identifying a shingle condition will be easily done once the blisters and the telltale rashes start appearing on the side of your body. Shingles can be a very painful viral infection but it is not considered as a life-threatening condition.
There are times when shingles rash develops a debilitating complication
which is called a postherpetic neuralgia that causes the affected skin to become sensitive and painful to touch or even move. This complication may stay for months or even years and not till the rashes clear up.
The sign and symptoms of shingles may be mistaken for heat rash or other skin irritation. Some of the sign and symptoms are also very common to other skin diseases such as itching, occurrences of red rashes after a few days of pain, fevers and chills, headache, upset stomach, blisters with fluid in it that crusts over once it breaks open. A painful burning and tingling sensation will be experienced which will be accompanied of extreme numbness and sensitivity to some parts of the body.
The first symptom of shingles is usually pain that can be so intense and extremely painful even with the slightest touch. Usually the pain is followed by a rash but there are cases when the rashes does not appear thus making it difficult for shingles to be accurately diagnosed.
The rashes caused by shingles may have some resemblance with chickenpox but the virus that causes it typically brings more pain and with less itching. The encore of chickenpox in the form of shingles is still unclear and unexplained. But studies are showing that shingles is due to lowered immunity system which helps us in fighting of infections and as we grow older it becomes much weaker. The occurrence of shingles are very common with older people especially people with weaker body immune system.
Shingles vaccine, high doses of anti-viral drugs, pain relievers to help control the pain and anti-inflammatory medications to help ease the swelling are some of the possible treatments for this condition. Once you suspected that you might be affected with shingles especially if you have a weakened immune system due to some chronic illness, the rashes have widespread and the pain ha become extremely unbearable and when the infection occurred near you eyes which may lead to permanent eye damage, immediate medical attention should be administered.