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The characteristics symptoms causes and treatment of shingles a painful disease

Shingles: Causes and Treatments

Shingles Herpes Zoster What is shingles? Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a common viral infection of the nerves, which results in a painful rash or small blisters on an area of skin. Burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching are early signs of the infection.

  • What are the symptoms of shingles?
  • The rash forms along a band, most commonly on the torso and buttocks, but also on the arms, legs, and face.

Even after the rash is gone, the pain can continue for months, even years. Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox. After a person has had chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in certain nerves for many years. According to the CDC, at least one million people develop shingles in the U. What are the symptoms of shingles? The following are the most common symptoms of shingles. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.

How is shingles diagnosed? In addition to a complete physical exam and medical history, diagnostic tests for shingles may include: The rash is so characteristic of shingles that a presumptive diagnosis is often made by just looking at the rash. The rash is typically confined to one area on one side of the body or face, and appears as red spots, small fluid- or pus-filled vesicles, or scabs.

A procedure in which the skin is gently scraped to determine if the virus is shingles or another virus. Complications of shingles Active shingles symptoms usually do not last longer than three to five weeks.

However, complications can occur. The two major complications that can result from shingles include: The most common complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia PHN.

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PHN is characterized by continuous, chronic pain that a person feels even after the skin lesions have healed. The pain may be severe in the area where the blisters were present, and the affected skin may be very sensitive to heat and cold. Early treatment of shingles may prevent PHN. In addition, analgesics pain relieving medications and steroid treatment to help reduce inflammation may be used to treat the pain and inflammation.

Other treatments include antiviral drugs, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and topical agents.

  • PHN is characterized by continuous, chronic pain that a person feels even after the skin lesions have healed;
  • Although it is hard to resist scratching, you increase the risk that the blisters will become infected from dirt on your fingernails;
  • Even after the rash is gone, the pain can continue for months, even years.

A second severe complication of shingles is a bacterial infection on the skin where the lesions are located. Rarely, infections can lead to further complications, such as superficial gangrene and scarring. When an infection occurs near or on the eyes, a corneal infection can occur which can lead to temporary or permanent blindness.

Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Treatment usually focuses on pain relief. Treatment may include painkillers to help alleviate some of the pain and antiviral drugs to help lessen some of the symptoms and minimize nerve damage.

Other treatments may include: The vaccine has been found to reduce the number of cases of shingles and the incidence of PHN in older adults.