What Are The Symptoms And Stages Shingles
Shingles symptoms appear in stages. At first, you may get headaches or feel like you have the flu, but without a fever. You may also be sensitive to light, have trouble thinking clearly or feel dizzy and weak.
A few days or even weeks later, an area of your body or face will feel itchy, tingly or painful. This is where a rash will appear. The rash will eventually turn into a cluster of blisters that are filled with fluid.
If You Have More Than One Area Of Blisters What Can You Expect If You Go To The Hospital
Its important to note that most people with shingles dont need to be in a hospital, but if you do:
- Youll be in a contact isolation room.
- The door will be kept closed.
- A sign on your door will remind people who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine not to enter.
- The sign will also remind staff to wear gowns and gloves when entering the room.
What Are The Health Complications
The most common complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia . PHN causes severe pain even after the shingles rash clears.
People aged 60 years and older who dont seek treatment for shingles are more likely to develop PHN.
Shingles can also cause serious sight problems if it infects the structures of the eye.
Other rare complications include:
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What Causes Shingles In Your Mouth
Shingles can affect the skin and mucosa, or tissues that line your body. This includes the inside of your mouth.
The cause of oral shingles is the same as shingles in general. The disease develops when your immune system becomes weakened. A compromised immune system is unable to control the virus, allowing it to multiply and cause shingles.
Several things can weaken your immune system and activate shingles, such as:
- emotional stress
Visit a doctor if you develop mouth lesions or mouth pain of any kind. You should also see a doctor if you have mouth lesions and:
- severe tooth or mouth pain
- unusual sensations, like tingling, burning, or prickling
- the mouth lesions are oozing or bleeding
If your doctor thinks you have oral shingles, theyll use several tests to make a diagnosis. This may include:
- Physical examination. Your doctor will check the lesions in your mouth for redness, blistering, and crusting. Theyll also examine your skin for other signs of shingles.
- Medical history. To determine your risk of developing shingles, your doctor will ask questions about your health. Theyll also want to know if youve had chickenpox before.
- Swab test. Your doctor may swab the blisters in your mouth. The swab will be sent to a laboratory, where technicians will analyze it for the varicella-zoster virus.
- Blood tests. A blood test is used to check your blood for signs of infection. This includes antibodies, which your body creates in response to shingles.
Shingles Can Harm Your Eyes
Eyelid shingles can impact your vision and your comfort. But shingles can do even more. The virus can spread to tissues within the eye, and that can cause additional damage.
Researchers say 1 person in 100 can develop the ophthalmic version of shingles, and most who do are elderly. If you have the condition, you may visit your doctor complaining of:
- Vision changes.
- Redness in your eye.
- Welts around your eye.
It’s important to get help right away when shingles appears in your eye, says Mayo Clinic. Shingles can cause longstanding problems with your vision, and in some cases, it can cause blindness. The sooner you act, the better.
You will probably be encouraged to get help, experts say, as shingles within the eye are excruciating. You might describe the pain as itchy, burning, or stabbing. It does not get better if you blink or rest. And it may feel worse with each passing day.
Shingles brings more than just extreme discomfort to the eyes. It can also weaken the structures within the eye, and that can increase your risk of other eye health problems. The American Academy of Ophthalmology says a case of shingles can up your risk of developing these issues:
If the welts appear on your cornea, they can leave scars behind. Those marks can blur your vision for years to come.
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What Shingles Symptoms Come Next
After about 1 to 5 days, a shingles rash will appear on one side of the body, often in a single characteristic band around one side of the torso or face.
The painful rash will then form itchy or burning blister-like sores filled with a clear fluid. The blisters will scab over in 7 to 10 days. Theyll gradually grow smaller before disappearing.
Shingles rash symptoms commonly last between 2 to 4 weeks.
When Should I Get The Shingles Vaccine
The current shingles vaccine is a safe, easy, and more effective way to prevent shingles than the previous vaccine. In fact, it is over 90% effective at preventing shingles. Most adults age 50 and older should get vaccinated with the shingles vaccine, which is given in two doses. You can get the shingles vaccine at your doctors office and at some pharmacies.
You should get the shingles vaccine if you:
- Have already had chickenpox, the chickenpox vaccine, or shingles
- Received the prior shingles vaccine called Zostavax
- Dont remember having had chickenpox
Medicare Part D and private health insurance plans may cover some or all of the cost. Check with Medicare or your health plan to find out if it is covered.
You should not get vaccinated if you:
- Currently have shingles
- Are sick or have a fever
- Had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the shingles vaccine
If you are unsure about the above criteria or have other health concerns, talk with your doctor before getting the vaccine.
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What Are Complications Of Shingles
Though shingles often resolve without any major problems, several potential complications can arise from shingles.
- Postherpetic neuralgia : This is the most common complication of shingles. PHN is characterized by persistent pain and discomfort in the area affected by shingles. The pain can last for months to several years after the rash has cleared up. This complication is thought to occur because of damage to the affected nerves. The pain can sometimes be severe and difficult to control, and the likelihood of developing postherpetic neuralgia increases with age. This chronic post-herpetic pain can sometimes lead to depression and disability. In people 60 years of age and older with shingles, postherpetic neuralgia will develop in approximately 15%-25% of cases. It rarely occurs in people under 40 years of age. Timely treatment with antiviral medication during a shingles outbreak may help reduce the incidence of developing postherpetic neuralgia. If postherpetic neuralgia develops, there are various treatment options available including topical creams such as capsaicin , topical anesthetic lidocaine patches , antiseizure medications such as gabapentin , pregabalin , tricyclic antidepressant medications, and opioid pain medications. Intrathecal glucocorticoid injections may be useful for select patients with postherpetic neuralgia who do not respond to conventional medications and treatment measures.
The Shingles Rash Usually Occurs On One Side Of The Body Or Face Most Commonly On The Trunk
Its easy to mistake a shingles rash for another health condition that affects the skin. The shingles virus typically causes a painful rash and blisters, which can resemble many other skin conditions psoriasis, eczema, and hives among them. However, there are a few signs that your rash is more likely to be shingles than something else.
To get shingles, you must have had chickenpox. Shingles, or herpes zoster, occurs when the chickenpox virus reactivates after lying dormant in the body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 out of 3 people in the United States will get shingles in their lifetime. While your risk of getting shingles increases as you age, anyone can get it if they had chickenpox, notes the CDC.
About half of all shingles cases occur in adults age 60 or older, and the risk of getting shingles becomes much greater by age 70, according to the National Institute on Aging.
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What Can Be Done For Recurrent Shingles
Though most people will experience only one episode of shingles during their lifetime, recurrence can occur in certain individuals. In order to help prevent recurrent episodes of shingles, individuals with no contraindications can receive the zoster vaccine , which can prevent recurrent episodes of shingles. Otherwise, people who do experience a recurrent case of shingles should see their doctor as soon as the rash appears to promptly receive antiviral medication.
What Are Eye Shingles
Eye shingles is a painful rash of the skin around the eye. It typically affects the forehead and skin of the upper lid. It also can affect the side or tip of the nose. If not quickly daignosed and treated, shingles in the eye can cause permanent damage to your vision.
Shingles on the face and eye is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles can be limited to the area around your eye or it can cause a painful red rash elsewhere on your body.
Over the past six decades, cases of shingles have been on the rise.
The number of cases of eye shingles in the United States tripled from 2004 to 2016, according to University of Michigans Kellogg Eye Center.
Researchers found that people over age 75 have the greatest risk. Whites and women also present with a higher incidence of eye shingles.
What explains this increase? Weakening of the immune system from chronic diseases and stress are factors.
Dr. Christopher Rapuano, MD, chief of Cornea Service at Wills Eye Hospital, one of the top U.S. ophthalmic specialty hospitals, says few Americans are getting vaccinated for shingles, which is the best way to avoid the disease and protect your eyes.
Shingles can cause bad things to happen to the eyes, and some of those things can happen even with good treatment, he says.
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Shingles Risks And Pregnancy
Pregnant women are susceptible to shingles. Fortunately, shingles in pregnancy is very rare. The antiviral medications described previously are considered safe to use in pregnant women, as are most pain-relieving drugs. Women should not take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen in the later stages of pregnancy, but acetaminophen is considered safe. Having chickenpox during pregnancy has the potential to cause birth defects, depending upon when in the pregnancy the infection occurs. The risk of birth defects is believed to be lower with shingles than with primary chickenpox infection.
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Face And Head Involvement
When an outbreak of shingles occurs on the head or face, it also typically is found on one side of the scalp, face, mouth or neck or in one eye or ear. As with the rash on the body, the location corresponds to a reactivation of the virus within a nerve. The nerves that supply sensation and motor function to the head and face are called cranial nerves. In addition to causing a painful, blistering red skin rash on the face or head, shingles involving a cranial nerve may cause weakness of the corresponding face muscles. Shingles involving the inside of the mouth or ear may cause ulcers and problems with taste or hearing.
- When an outbreak of shingles occurs on the head or face, it also typically is found on one side of the scalp, face, mouth or neck or in one eye or ear.
- In addition to causing a painful, blistering red skin rash on the face or head, shingles involving a cranial nerve may cause weakness of the corresponding face muscles.
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How Long Does A Shingles Outbreak Last
It can take three to five weeks from the time you begin to feel symptoms until the rash totally disappears.
What Causes Shingles On The Face
Herpes zoster occurs when the chickenpox virus gets reactivated. After someone has a breakout of chickenpox, the virus remains in a dormant state in certain nerves and it can stay that way for many years. Shingles are more common in people with weak immunities and in older people.
Medical researchers acknowledge that they understand fully what triggers the virus, although compromised immunity is present in almost all patients. And there is no hard and fast reason why some people get shingles on the face.
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Scalp Pain And Hair Loss
Shingles of the scalp can lead to PHN pain in the areas of the scalp where the rash was, and long after the skin has cleared. It can also cause hair loss from scratching or combing too hard during a shingles attack, leading to a condition called cicatricial alopecia or scarring alopecia.
Hair loss occurs when the shingles rash destroys hair follicle cells responsible for new hair growth. With these cells damaged, the hair loss is permanent.
Shingles Painful Rash Symptoms Virus Cause Risk Prevention Treating
If you had chickenpox as a child the virus still lives in your nervous system. You are at high risk for this condition. Shingles painful rash.
The chickenpox virus becomes reactivated years later in your body. Shingles is a viral infection resulting in a painful rash. Furthermore shingles can develop anywhere on your body.
It is not exactly known what reactivates this virus. A weakened or compromised immune system can also trigger shingles. However there are more than 200,000 cases every year in the United States alone.
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When Shingles Strikes Your Face
Dozens of muscles line your face, and they help you talk, eat, blink, and wink. All those movements start with nerve impulses, and any nerve band can get hit with a shingles outbreak.
Just one side of the face is touched by the issue, and the blisters will not spread. If you touch the bumps on one side of your face and then touch the other, you can’t spread the problem around. The virus sits within the nerves, far below the skin, and you can’t influence how the infection spreads.
Your shingles may appear on or around your eyelid, and that can make blinking difficult or painful. Sometimes, the tissues swell, and that makes it hard for you to open your eye.
Eye Shingles Diagnosis And Treatment
Your doctor can diagnose shingles by observing the rash on your face or eyes. They might take a fluid sample from the blister to test for the varicella-zoster virus.
Doctors will also examine the following parts for the presence of swelling, inflammation, or damage:
- Other parts of your eye, including the eyelid, the optic nerve, etc.
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General Signs And Symptoms Of Shingles
It is important to understand that so long as the immune system remains strong, the sleeping virus in the nerves, for some people never gets active again but for some people, the virus is allowed to awaken from its dormant state because of a weak immune system. People prone to weak immunities include the elderly, injured persons and those on certain medication such as immune-suppressors. In the majority of cases, Shingles is a once a lifetime disease, although there are rare cases of some people who have recurring Shingles.
Herpes Zoster symptoms appear in a series of stages beginning with early stage and progressing all the way through to the full on Shingles illness.
Its possible that you could also feel dizzy or weak. Or you could have long-term pain, rash on your face, changes in your vision, changes in how well you can think or a rash that spreads. If you have any of these problems from shingles, call your doctor right away.
How does Shingles infect face
Year Five: Chronic Or Recurrent Eye Disease
When shingles impacts the eyes its called herpes zoster ophthalmicus, or HZO. And according to a report in the journal Ophthalmology, 25% of patients experience chronic or recurrent eye disease within five years of HZO. Although most patients with HZO do not experience recurrence, it is important for patients to remain vigilant for recurrences due to potential for long-term damage to their eyes, says Dr. Shekhawat. Recurrent HZO can cause severe dry eye, corneal nerve damage and inflammation and scarring on the inside of the eye, which can damage vision and cause elevation of intraocular pressure leading to glaucoma, says Dr. Shekhawat.
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