Shingles: Diagnosis & Treatment
If you had chickenpox, the virus that caused it is still inside your body. When the chickenpox cleared, the virus moved from your skin to your nerves.
Should this virus travel back to your skin, you will get shingles instead of chickenpox.
Is it contagious?
Yes, but you cannot give anyone shingles. While you have blisters, you can spread a virus. If that virus infects someone who hasn’t had chickenpox (or the chickenpox vaccine), the person can get chickenpox.
What are the signs and symptoms of shingles?
Shingles causes a painful, blistering rash on your skin. If you get shingles, you may notice the following:
Before the rash appears: For 1 to 2 days before the rash appears, you may have pain, burning, or tingling on an area of skin where the rash will develop. Some people say they felt an “electrical sensation” on their skin before getting the rash.
Rash appears: A painful, blistering rash appears. It usually appears on one side of your body, often on the torso; however, it can appear anywhere on your skin. Some people get more blisters after the rash appears, so it can seem that the rash is spreading.
Rash starts to clear: As the rash clears, the blisters may crack open, bleed, and scab over. For most people, the rash will clear within 2 to 4 weeks.
Other signs and symptoms of shingles
Along with a painful, blistering rash, some people can also have one or more of the following: Fever, Headache, Muscle aches, Stomach pain, Vomiting. These tend to go away as the rash clears.
Other health problems due to shingles
Some people develop other health problems after the shingles rash clears, which include:
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN): This is the most common. Occurring where you had the rash, PHN can cause constant tingling, burning, and pain. For others, the pain comes and goes. Whether the pain is constant or intermittent, it can go on for a long time. You can have PHN for months, years, or the rest of your life. There is no way to know how long it will last.
The pain caused by PHN can become so severe that it interferes with your life, making everyday activities painful. A musician may no longer be able to play an instrument. Some people cannot walk comfortably. It may be difficult to bathe or get dressed. You may have trouble sleeping.
How to prevent PHN: If you have shingles, you can greatly reduce your risk of PHN by getting treated for shingles within 3 days of developing the rash.
How do dermatologists treat shingles?
An antiviral medication can reduce the amount of time that you have a shingles rash, decrease how severe the rash becomes and lower your risk of developing long-lasting nerve pain and other health problems
One of three antiviral medications is usually prescribed—acyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir.
If you have severe pain, your dermatologist may prescribe a medication that reduces inflammation, such as a corticosteroid.
What is the outcome for someone who has shingles?
Most people get shingles once, but it’s possible to get it again.
If you have a healthy immune system, the blisters tend to clear in 7 to 10 days. The rash tends to go away completely within 2 to 4 weeks. The pain may last longer, but usually stops in 1 or 2 months.
Be sure to tell your doctor if you continue to have pain. Treatment can help you feel more comfortable.
(Source for Info: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/shingles-overview)Back to Skin Condition Library >