Shingles or herpes zoster infection involves the reactivation of the same virus responsible for chicken pox specifically the varicella-zoster virus. Take note that the condition occurs in 2 phases.
Always bear in mind that shingles is defined by a painful blistering rash that can form on any part of the body, but common on the chest, abdomen or near the eye. In most cases, individuals over 60 years or older are affected.
What are the stages?
The initial phase of shingles starts 3-4 days before the rash arises. The early signs strikingly resemble the common cold including nausea, headache, abdominal pain, generalized achiness, fever, fatigue and chills. As the condition progresses, the symptoms become severe.
In the next phase, pain is the first symptom. In some cases, it might be intense and include itching, burning, tingling or numbness in the site in which the rash forms. The pain seems to penetrate from the anterior to back, particularly in the chest or face.
If a rash is absent, these signs can be puzzling for both the individual and the doctor. The doctor might mistake it for a different condition. In most cases, the pain linked with the rash lessens as it heals.
Close look on the rashes
After a few days of burning and tingling, a rash comprised of blisters filled with fluid on a reddened base form on the skin which is significantly inflamed and tender.
A slight touch can trigger intense pain. Generally, the rash develops on one side of the body in a band-like manner and might wrap around one side of the chest. It might take 2-4 weeks before the blisters are clear of the virus.
Management of shingles
Antiviral medications such as famciclovir, acyclovir or valacyclovir along with regulated doses of steroids are given to manage shingles.
These drugs can drastically lessen the long-term nerve pain but could not lessen the pain duration or provide a rapid resolution of the rash.