The Stages Of Shingles Recovery
After the rash develops, which usually appears on only one side of the body, it forms blisters. You may feel like you have the flu or a mild fever. As you recover, you will typically go through these stages:
- Blisters begin to burst or weep about 5 days after they develop, and lasts from 7 to 10 days. You should take time off from work and other activities during this period, because you can spread the virus to others through the fluid in the blisters. Otherwise, you can return to work when you feel comfortable doing so.
- The blisters will scab over and begin to heal, which takes from 1 to 3 weeks, unless the rash is on your scalp in which case it can take several months.
- As they heal, the blisters become smaller and less painful, generally over a period of 3 to 5 weeks.
- About 10 to 15% of people with shingles will develop chronic nerve pain, which can be severe. Sensitivity to touch at the site of the rash is possible. The older you are, the more likely it is you will develop this disorder, called post-herpetic neuralgia, or PHN. The pain often lessens over time. Available treatments include anti-inflammatory injections, nerve blocks, certain tricyclic antidepressants, or capsaicin cream, which is made from chili peppers and can help ease nerve pain.
How Do People Get Shingles
People get shingles when the virus that causes chicken pox, varicella zoster, is reactivated in their body. The varicella zoster virus doesnt leave the body, even after a person has recovered from chicken pox. It can flare up again, causing shingles, often many years after a person has had chicken pox. The virus tends to reactivate when a persons immune system is weakened because of another health problem.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Chickenpox
The red, itchy skin rash usually starts on the belly or back and face. Then it spreads to almost everywhere else on the body, including the scalp, mouth, arms, legs, and genitals.
The rash begins as many small red bumps that look like pimples or insect bites. They appear in waves over 2 to 4 days, then develop into thin-walled blisters filled with fluid. The blister walls break, leaving open sores, which finally crust over to become dry, brown scabs.
All three stages of the chickenpox rash appear on the body at the same time. The rash may spread wider or be more severe in kids who have weak immune systems or skin disorders like eczema.
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What Are Some Common Treatments For Shingles
The CDC recommends that adults 50 years or older receive two doses of the shingles vaccine. Additionally, several antiviral medicines like acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are available to treat shingles and shorten the length and severity of the illness. These medicines are most effective when taken immediately after the rash appears.
What Is The Outlook
If you have a particularly severe case of shingles, it could take months to go away. It can also become a long-term problem for some people. If you have postherpetic neuralgia, you may need to see your doctor more often.
Complications that involve the eye or ear may require ongoing care, especially if you have lingering vision or hearing problems.
Most people have shingles only once, but it can recur. This is more likely to happen if you have a weakened immune system.
If you havent had any major complications, your symptoms should clear up within a matter of weeks with few, if any, lasting effects.
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Skin: Condition: Infomation To Treat The Pain Of Postherpetic Neuralgia
Using an anaesthetic ointment before applying a topical analgesic cream may help. The lidocaine can be bought over the counter, but the capsaicin cream needs to be prescribed by a doctor. Treatments that are sometimes also used include antidepressants and anticonvulsant tablets, as well as pain killers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
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Signs Of Shingles Before The Rash Appears
Before the rash appears, early warning signs of shingles, which may be present, include:
- Itching, burning pain, numbness, tingling in the place where the rash will develop
- Flu-like symptoms such as chills, fever, headache, feeling fatigued or overly tired
After the initial skin complaints develop into the shingles rash, the condition typically lasts for two to four weeks. The pain typically worsens as the rash develops and alleviates as it heals.
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If Ive Had Chickenpox Once In My Life Can I Get It Again
Its rare to get chickenpox twice in your life. Once youve had chickenpox, youre usually immune to it for the rest of your life. However, its not totally impossible. If you have a severely weakened immune system , you can get chickenpox a second time. If youve had chickenpox, you are more likely to get shingles at some point in your life than a repeat bout of chickenpox.
People Who Shouldnt Have The Vaccination
There are 2 shingles vaccines available. One contains a weakened version of the live shingles virus.
The live vaccine is the one that is routinely used in the UK but people who have weakened immune systems, for example due to cancer treatment, should not have it. They should have the inactivated shingles vaccine. Your doctor will advise whether this applies to you. Further information is available on the Shingrix vaccine.
If youve had a severe reaction to any of the substances that go into the vaccine, you shouldnt have it. Again, your GP will advise you.
The live shingles vaccine used in the UK contains porcine gelatine. Some people may not want this vaccine but it is the recommended vaccine unless you cannot have it because you have a weakened immune system.
If you have the Zostavax vaccine, you will just need one injection. If you are not eligible for the live vaccine, you will need 2 doses of the Shingrix vaccine 2 months apart to give you the best protection. Once your course is completed, you will not need any more shingles vaccines.
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What Everyone Should Know About The Shingles Vaccine
Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication from shingles. CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix , separated by 2 to 6 months, to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. Your doctor or pharmacist can give you Shingrix as a shot in your upper arm.
Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. Two doses of Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Protection stays above 85% for at least the first four years after you get vaccinated.
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Considerations For Patients Who Previously Received Zostavax
Studies have not examined the safety and immunogenicity of Shingrix administered less than 5 years following Zostavax® vaccination. However, there are no data or theoretical concerns to indicate that Shingrix would be less safe or less effective when given at an interval shorter than 5 years following Zostavax. Since the risk of herpes zoster increases with age, providers should weigh a patients risk of herpes zoster with the age-specific protection expected from Zostavax to determine when to vaccinate with Shingrix.
- Shingles=Herpes Zoster or Zoster
- VZV=varicella zoster virus
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Are Vaccines Effective
The chickenpox vaccine became available in 1995, but there is simply not enough data to determine whether or not getting the chickenpox vaccine will consistently result in milder cases of chickenpox and fewer occurrences of shingles later in life. Additionally, it is not known if the chickenpox vaccine confers lifelong immunity. On the other hand, children who contract the wild type of the chickenpox virus are then immune for life. Whether you opt to vaccinate your children or expose them to the chickenpox virus, do one or the othergetting chickenpox for the first time as an adult is absolutely miserable the disease is usually not as debilitating in children.
In general, vaccines need to be boostered throughout life, but there is little information about boostering the chickenpox vaccine in adults. When the wild type virus was more prevalent, many adults got automatically boostered by being near kids with childhood chickenpox. In fact, one theory as to why were seeing more cases of shingles now is that this boostering effect is diminishing as more parents choose to vaccinate their children.
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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Avoid Intense Or Irritating Movement
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, shingles rashes most often appear on the trunk of the body, which includes your:
Shingles rashes can also occur on the:
With that in mind, its best to avoid activities that require you to lay on these areas, like exercising on the floor or a workout bench. For instance, if youre doing gentle yoga, skip any poses that have you lying in the prone or supine position, where your belly or back are touching the floor, respectively.
Additionally, intense cardiovascular exercise like running or cycling may irritate a shingles rash, especially in the early stages.
As you heal, consider switching to lower-intensity workouts like walking until the blisters dry up and crust over. According to the National Institute on Aging , this generally takes around 7 to 10 days after a rash appears.
If possible, hold off on high intensity exercise until the scabs are completely cleared up, which may take 2 to 5 weeks.
What Are The Symptoms
The first sign of shingles is often burning, sharp pain, tingling, or numbness in your skin on one side of your body or face. The most common site is the back or upper abdomen. You may have severe itching or aching. You also may feel tired and ill with fever, chills, headache, and upset stomach or belly pain.
One to 14 days after you start feeling pain, you will notice a rash of small blisters on reddened skin. Within a few days after they appear, the blisters will turn yellow, then dry and crust over. Over the next 2 weeks the crusts drop off, and the skin continues to heal over the next several days to weeks.
Because shingles usually follows nerve paths, the blisters are usually found in a line, often extending from the back or side around to the belly. The blisters are almost always on just one side of the body. Shingles usually doesn’t cross the midline of the body. The rash also may appear on one side of your face or scalp. The painful rash may be in the area of your ear or eye. When shingles occurs on the head or scalp, symptoms can include headaches and weakness of one side of the face, which causes that side of the face to look droopy. The symptoms usually go away eventually, but it may take many months.
In some cases the pain can last for weeks, months, or years, long after the rash heals. This is called postherpetic neuralgia.
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Herpes Zoster Vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide
For health professionals
Last complete revision:
July 2018 This chapter was revised to reflect NACIs Updated Recommendations on the Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. Most sections were revised to include information and practice recommendations for the new recombinant zoster vaccine which is now available in Canada. Changes include:
- Recommendations for use in different populations.
- Contraindications and precautions.
- Administration of the HZ vaccines: Table 1 was added to summarize key information.
- Considerations on the efficacy, effectiveness and immunogenicity of HZ vaccines: Table 2 was added to summarize key information.
- Vaccine safety and adverse events.
What Serious Side Effects Should I Watch For After Getting The Shingrix Vaccine
Serious side effects from vaccines are extremely rare. However, call 911 or get to a hospital right away if you experience any of the following within minutes to hours after receiving Shingrix:
- Swelling of the face or throat.
- Difficulty breathing.
I was diagnosed as having Shingles on Friday at the doctors. I started itching on my forehead Tues night and by the next day my forehead had all red marks on it? I didnt realise you can get shingles on your face?
I have had horrible pain on/off since, swelling on my eyebrow and jawline near my ears?
Anyone else had this? How long will it last? Also should I be off work with it?
Appeciate any advice please
6 years ago
mine lasted a bout 4 weeks .no should not be at work till it blisters over .my was on the back .but I had a friend who at it on the face you must be carefull if it goes in to your eyes go back to doc .make sure you take the tablets for it and strong pain killers .hope you get better soon
Posted 6 years ago
Thank you Julie, I am taking Aciclover and Tramadol which I was on anyway for a knee problem, they work on the pain really well. Thank you for your advice.x
Posted 4 years ago
Also use Biotene mouth wash frequently to keep your mouth moist. Brush after meals. When your mouth is dry, it ups the risk for cavities.
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What Are The Complications Of Shingles
Symptoms of shingles usually dont last longer than 3 to 5 weeks. However, complications can happen. The main complications that can result from shingles include:
- Postherpetic neuralgia . The most common complication of shingles is called postherpetic neuralgia . This continuous, chronic pain lasts even after the skin lesions have healed. The pain may be severe in the area where the blisters were present. The affected skin may be very sensitive to heat and cold. If you had severe pain during the active rash or have impaired senses, you are at increased risk for PHN. The elderly are also at greater risk. Early treatment of shingles may prevent PHN. Pain relievers and steroid treatment may be used to treat the pain and inflammation. Other treatments include antiviral drugs, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and topical agents.
- Bacterial infection. A bacterial infection of the skin where the rash happens is another complication. Rarely, infections can lead to more problems, such as tissue death and scarring. When an infection happens near or on the eyes, a corneal infection can happen. This can lead to temporary or permanent blindness.
Infectious Disease Associates Of Tampa Bay
Infectious Disease Associates of Tampa Bay is dedicated to providing outstanding care to their patients. If you feel that you are at risk for getting shingles or have questions, then IDATB is here to assist you. Please contact us via phone at 813-251-8444 with any questions or concerns about shingles or any other infectious disease. IDATB has been serving the Tampa Bay community for several years. We take great pride in our level of service quality to patients, whether they are from Tampa, Clearwater, Lutz, Largo, Apollo Beach, Brandon, or St. Petersburg.
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If I Get The Shingles Vaccine Does This Mean Im 100% Protected From Getting Shingles
No, just like most vaccines, getting vaccinated doesnt provide 100% protection from disease. However, getting the shingles vaccine reduces your risk of developing shingles. Even if you do develop shingles, youll be more likely to have a mild case. Also, youll be much less likely to develop postherpetic neuralgia, the painful condition that can follow a shingles outbreak.
What Are Shingles In The Eye
The varicella-zoster virus causes shingles. In many people, the varicella-zoster virus remains dormant, while in others, it activates later. This virus can appear as shingles, a painful rash, several decades after you first encountered chickenpox.
In 10-20% of people who encounter shingles, the rash appears on or around the eye. When the shingles rash appears in the eye, it becomes herpes zoster ophthalmicus, named for its location. Most of the time, shingles do not appear in the eye, but you can have shingles on the eye and nearby facial areas as well as more common parts of your body, like your back or chest.
While most people recover fully after having shingles, eye shingles do present unique problems. The virus can cause problems like vision loss and scarring. It can also have longer-lasting effects on anyone who has a compromised immune system.
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