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Shingles, otherwise called as herpes zoster, is a painful skin condition in which a person develops tingling, burning and itchy skin rashes or blisters. It is caused by herpes zoster virus, which is also responsible for causing chicken pox. It usually affects one side of the body. This condition is characterized by a stripe of blisters in the neck, torso and face. It is more common in people over the age of 50 years. Herpes zoster is contagious, and it can spread from person to person by direct contact with the fluid from an active blistering rash. Once the shingles rash has dried out and developed crusting, it is not contagious.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The signs and symptoms of shingles include:
Shingles is caused due to varicella-zoster virus which is also responsible for causing chickenpox. After recovery from chicken pox, the virus enters nervous tissue of the brain and spinal cord and stays inactive for years. Eventually, it may reactivate, travel along the nerve fiber, enter the skin and cause shingles. Individuals who come in direct contact with the open sores of shingles can acquire this infection. Pregnant women, newborns and people with weak immune system are more susceptible to acquire this infection.
The person who has had chicken pox once in his/her life can develop shingles later. The risk factors of shingles include:
Complications of shingles include:
Herpes zoster is usually diagnosed clinically based on its distinctive rash and its distribution along a dermatome (area of the skin supplied by nerves from a single spinal root). Antibody tests, PCR test and Tzanck tests are the lab tests done to assess the presence of varicella zoster virus in a sample of the blister fluid.
The doctor may prescribe antivirals drugs such as acyclovir, valacyclovir or famciclovir which can speed healing and prevent shingles from complicating.
Shingles can cause pain for which the doctor may prescribe following:
Pain and itching can be relieved by the following methods:
There are two vaccines to prevent shingles:
Who are usually affected by acne? Most people with acne are aged between 12 and 25 but some older and younger people are affected. Boys are more commonly affected than girls.
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