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What is Shingles

Herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles is a viral disease characterized by blisters or skin rashes that appear only in a limited part of the body. They usually appear as stripes above the skin. Actually, the virus affects people in their youth in the shape of chicken pox. Even after getting proper treatment for chicken pox and getting it cured the virus will not leave the body. This virus gets reactivated several years after the initial occurrence of chicken pox. This second episode has different symptoms than the first one and is called shingles.

What is Shingles?

Varicella zoster virus (VZV) which causes chickenpox in early stages of life is the culprit behind causing shingles in their adulthood. It belongs to the Herpes family of viruses. Shingles often manifests itself as a skin rash which appears only in a restricted area of the skin. Some of the main reasons behind this condition are a deficient immune system, high level of stress and cancer. When any of these occurs, the dormant virus reactivates themselves, causing shingles.


Even though many causes can be associated with shingles, the exact cause is still not confirmed. What we should be more concerned with should be not to trigger the reactivation of the virus lying inactive in the victim's body. This reactivation may happen due to an increased level of stress, particularly emotional stress. Another cause is tiredness. Also, you will show signs of fatigue and depression if you suffer from this condition, as these are the main side effects of shingles. Also people who have a weak immune system or intakes too many medicines causing addiction to various drugs are also more prone to develop shingles. Also cancer patients who undergo radiation treatments too can develop this condition. Old people and HIV patients are also at a higher risk to get shingles.


Depending upon the different nerves it affects, symptoms of shingles may vary. Main symptom is usually severe one sided pain in the body. This sensation can be felt as a tingling sensation, itchiness, a deep ache, or a lightning bolt like pain. This will be really quick and is intensely painful. If you experience this kind of pain near to your face or the eyes make sure to consult a doctor on an urgent basis. Other associated symptoms of shingles include headache, fever, chills and itching. As a final step, a rash appears on the skin.

Treatment of Shingles

Shingles are always treated better with the help of an experienced doctor. Also keep in mind that even though there are many effective medications that can be prescribed to a shingles patient, most of them are effective only if administered at the initial stages of the disease. Doctors usually prescribe various antihistamines and topical creams to reduce the itching. Sometimes, pain killers will also be prescribed to lessen the pain. Applying cool water compresses to the affected area for as many times in a day for at least twenty minutes each is also helpful. Clean the affected area with a mild soap. Applying of petroleum jelly also soothe the affected area and helps in the recovery of the patient.


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