Burning Feeling And Red Rash
Between 1 and 5 days after you start to feel the tingling or numb feeling, a red rash will develop on the same area of your skin. Most often, the rash appears on one side of your torso, but it can show up anywhere on your body.
You may also have other symptoms along with the rash, such as:
When the rash starts, you should see a doctor for treatment as soon as possible. Starting antiviral medication treatment within 3 days of the rash first appearing can lower your risk of developing complications, like long-term pain.
Antiviral Medicines For Shingles
Antiviral medicines used to treat shingles include aciclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir. An antiviral medicine does not kill the virus but works by stopping the virus from multiplying. So, it may limit the severity of symptoms of the shingles episode.
An antiviral medicine is most useful when started in the early stages of shingles . However, in some cases your doctor may still advise you have an antiviral medicine even if the rash is more than 72 hours old particularly in elderly people with severe shingles, or if shingles affects an eye.
Antiviral medicines are not advised routinely for everybody with shingles. As a general rule, the following groups of people who develop shingles will normally be advised to take an antiviral medicine:
- If you are over the age of 50. The older you are, the more risk there is of severe shingles or complications developing and the more likely you are to benefit from treatment.
- If you are of any age and have any of the following:
- Shingles that affects the eye or ear.
- A poorly functioning immune system .
- Shingles that affects any parts of the body apart from the trunk .
- Moderate or severe pain.
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Shingles Complications Can Be Mercilessly Painful
Q. I’m 81, and nine months ago I developed pain on the left side of my face and neck that was so excruciating it made me scream. A doctor told me I had shingles that would last six to eight weeks. I was given Neurontin and Percocet and told to take them three times a day. The doctor stopped the Percocet, but I’m still on Neurontin and still in pain. What can I do?
–M.B., Austin, Minn.
A. Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a viral infection of the nerves. It is a reactivation of the dormant chicken pox virus, Varicella, so only those who have had chicken pox get shingles.
Shingles is common more than 1 million North Americans have it at any one time, and it is seen more often in older adults. The symptoms begin with pain and itching in the skin along infected nerve pathways, usually on the trunk or face.
Shingles typically lasts two to six weeks, but the virus never leaves the body, so it may be reactivated even years later. Shingles returns in about 1 in 24 people.
The reason for reactivation is unknown in most cases, but the virus can be reactivated when the immune system is impaired by disease, such as with AIDS or lymphomas, or by certain drugs.
Antiviral drugs, such as famciclovir or valacyclovir, taken for seven days in a row, are helpful in treating shingles. But they do not eliminate the shingles virus.
Neurontin is an effective adjunctive treatment sometimes prescribed for seizures.
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How Does It Occur
If you have had chickenpox, you are at risk for later developing shingles. After you recover from chickenpox, the chickenpox virus stays in your body. It moves to the roots of your nerve cells and becomes inactive . Later, if the virus becomes active again, shingles is the name given to the symptoms it causes.
What exactly causes the virus to become active is not known. A weakened immune system seems to allow reactivation of the virus. This may occur with normal aging, immune-suppressing medicines, or another illness, or after major surgery. It can also happen as a complication of cancer or AIDS or treatment of these illnesses. Chronic use of steroid drugs may trigger shingles. The virus may also become active again after the skin is injured or sunburned. Emotional stress seems to be a common trigger as well.
How Common Is Postherpetic Neuralgia
Varicella-zoster virus causes both chickenpox and shingles. About 99% of Americans over age 40 have had chickenpox. About one in three people in the U.S. develop shingles in their lifetime. Some 10 to 18% of people who get shingles will develop postherpetic neuralgia. Postherpetic neuralgia is the most common complication of shingles.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
Shingles is not usually serious, but you should see your GP as soon as possible if you recognise the symptoms. Early treatment may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and the risk of developing complications.
You should also see your GP if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system and you think you have been exposed to someone with chickenpox or shingles and haven’t had chickenpox before.
In October 2014 Creakyjoints Blogger Kristin Anderson Shared Her Diary Where She Kept Track Of A Shingles Outbreak Due To Requests To Run Again We Are Re
In October 2014, CreakyJoints Blogger Kristin Anderson shared her diary where she kept track of a shingles outbreak. Due to requests to run again, we are re-posting.
Nearly one year ago, in October 2013, a virus of Armageddon like proportions knocked me off my feet: the shingles virus. Im not a crybaby when it comes to pain, but shingles made me crya major ugly-cry with guttural, indistinguishable sounds. I had heard of shingles, but had no idea that I was at higher risk for it. People with lupus have a 70% increased risk of developing shingles compared to healthy people. In a population-based study, patients with rheumatoid arthritis were more than twice as likely to experience shingles.
In the hopes that my suffering can help you, I share with you my Shingles Diary.
- October 17, 2013Appointment with my new TMJ specialisthad a headache that worsened after the visit. Did all of the jaw manipulation exacerbate my headache? Note: The headache was a clue of what was to come.
- October 18Woke up with severe pain in my right hip. Its so bad I cant lie on my right side. Tried heat and ice. Nothing works. Searing, nagging pain that I cant ignore. Is it piriformis syndrome to go along with my spinal stenosis and sciatica? I didnt do anything extreme this week, did I? Icing and stretching the area for now. Note: Sudden, searing, unexplainable muscle pain on one side can be a warning sign of shingles.
For further reading:
How Postherpetic Neuralgia Is Treated
Many effective treatments are used to treat PHN, including medications, physical therapy, exercise, and a range of alternative therapies. There is no one approach to treatment that will work for everyone. A combination of treatments often is needed to reduce pain.
Your doctor may first recommend drugs you can get at the drugstore without a prescription, such as acetaminophen , or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Capsaicin creammade from hot chili pepper seedsis also something you may want to try. When applied to the affected skin it may help reduce PHN-related pain. All of these treatments may cause side effects, including the capsaicin cream, so it is important to talk to your doctor about the correct way of using them.
If these medications arent strong enough to treat your PHN symptoms, your doctor may suggest some of the following prescription medications:
- Tricyclic antidepressants: These include drugs such as amitriptyline , nortriptyline , and desipramine these drugs take a few weeks to start working.
- Anticonvulsants: These drugs include gabapentin , carbamazepine , and pregabalin .
- Antivirals: These drugs include valacyclovir and acyclovir.
- Lidocaine patches: Placed on your skin, the lidocaine in the patches penetrate your skin and go to the nerves sending the pain signals.
- Capsaicin patches : These prescription patches contain very high concentrations of capsaicin and is applied in the doctors office for one hour every three months.
Help Is Available For Phn
Fortunately,early treatment for shingles can lower your chances of getting PHN.
For some people, the pain becomes refractory, or resistant to treatment, explains Dr. Rosenquist. So we want to treat shingles as fast as we can ideally as soon as somebody feels a tingling or burning sensation, even before a rash develops.
Sheadds that whenever nerve pain is involved, some people respond to treatment andsome dont.
However,medications taken orally or injected that can target the affected nerves may beable to stun the nervous system into behaving properly. That meanstransmitting the appropriate signal to the brain.
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Prevent Shingles Or Another Shingles Outbreak:
A vaccine may be given to help prevent shingles. You can get the vaccine even if you already had shingles. The vaccine can help prevent a future outbreak. If you do get shingles again, the vaccine can keep it from becoming severe. The vaccine comes in 2 forms. Your healthcare provider will tell you which form is right for you. The decision is based on your age and any medical conditions you have. A 2-dose vaccine is usually given to adults 50 years or older. A 1-dose vaccine may be given to adults 60 years or older.
Experiences On How Long Shingles Last
Hope you guys are having a good day so far.
I wanted to ask everybodys experience on the first time you had shingles how long did it last from the first first stage until the last stage where the rash and blisters went away from the affected areas.
Im currently on day 7 and on the stage where Im noticing the red spots rash are turning into blisters and getting really painful. I have to sleep on a certain angle to get a good nights rest. Since the shingles is affecting my lower left chest, side and back.
Any feedback or experience would be appreciated. Thanks!
1 like, 18 replies
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Where A Shingles Rash Forms
A shingles rash typically occurs on the face, neck, or chest, on just one side of the body.
The affected area of skin is called a dermatome, a region supplied by the sensory fibers of a specific spinal nerve. Outbreaks can involve two adjacent dermatomes, but rarely two non-adjacent dermatomes.
The exception may be in people whose immune systems are severely comprised, such as those with advanced HIV infection. They’re often at risk of disseminated shingles , shingles of the eyes or internal organs, and a recurrence of shingles within six months.
Kims Postherpetic Neuralgia Symptoms: No Worse No Better
Back home, Kims symptoms did not improve much. She was unable to return to work because of the pain, problems with her vision, and the side-effects of the gabapentin, which caused memory problems. By mid-Julymore than 4 months after the initial onsetshe still had swelling in her eye, spots on her cornea, scabbing on her scalp, and a great deal of burning pain. It was like someone had set an iron on my head and left it there, she recalls. She describes her condition at this point as kind of treading waterno worse, no better.
Kims neuralgia created a lot of pain, but she had other problems as well, particularly with her vision. She was given eye drops, which she had to use every waking hour. These helped some, she says, but being in bright lights was almost unbearable.
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The Best Sleeping Position For Shingles
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to sleeping with shingles. Because the location of ones shingles can vary, the best sleeping position for shingles can vary as well. As a rule of thumb, you will want the unaffected area of your body to be the up side. For example, if a rash caused by shingles has appeared on the right side of your torso, you will want to either sleep on your left side or on your back.
Why Is Nerve Pain Worse At Night
Stop for a minute and think about the last time you had a good nights rest. Has it been a day? Maybe two or three? Has it been a week since you had a restful night sleep without any burning or stabbing pain keeping you up?
It can seem like living with chronic nerve pain is a never-ending merry-go-round of discomfort. With a constant struggle during the day, why does it seem to flare up at night?
Lets take a closer look at why pain comes in droves when the sun comes down.
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What Is Postherpetic Neuralgia
Postherpetic neuralgia is a nerve pain that persists after a shingles rash has cleared. If your pain from shingles goes but then returns at a later date, this too is called PHN.
Shingles is an infection of a nerve and causes a typical rash. It is caused by the chickenpox virus. About 1 in 5 people have shingles at some time in their lives. Shingles can occur at any age but it is most common in people aged over 50. Most people with shingles have pain but the pain usually eases soon after the rash clears. PHN is pain that persists . See the separate leaflet called Shingles for more details.
Is The Condition Curable
There is no cure for shingles, but attacks can be rendered less severe and their duration shortened with the use of prescription antiviral drugs.
Several antiviral medicinesacyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovirare available to treat shingles and shorten the length and severity of the illness. These medicines are most effective if you start taking them as soon as possible after the rash appears. If you think you have shingles, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible to discuss treatment.
Pain medicine, either over-the-counter or a prescription from your doctor, may help relieve the pain caused by shingles. Wet compresses, calamine lotion, and colloidal oatmeal baths can also help relieve itching.
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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 . 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 , or PHN. The pain often lessens over time. Available treatments include anti-inflammatory injections, , certain tricyclic antidepressants, or capsaicin cream, which is made from chili peppers and can help ease nerve .
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What Increases The Risk Of Long
The risk of developing post-herpetic neuralgia increases with age. Four weeks after getting shingles,
- 27% of 55- to 59-year-olds and
- 73% of over 70-year-olds had nerve pain.
Women seem to be more likely to have longer-lasting nerve pain than men. Post-herpetic neuralgia is also more likely to develop if your eyes were affected by shingles.
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Preventing Nerve Pain After Shingles
But if youre worried about PHN, dont despair. There are medications that can cut your risks of getting the condition. There are three antiviral drugs used: famciclovir , valacyclovir , and acyclovir . These medications need to be started within two to three days of the onset of shingles.
If you look at the clinical trials with any of these drugs in people over 50, says Dworkin, they cut the rate of pain at six months in half. Thats a very significant improvement. They are also very safe and have few side effects, he says.
But who needs the drugs? Dworkin says theres not a clear consensus yet.
There are some obvious cases. I think everyone would agree that someone who is over 50 and has severe symptoms should get preventative treatment, he tells WebMD.
But for younger people or those with fewer risk factors, the course is less clear.
Some people think that everyone who gets shingles should get preventative treatment with antiviral medicines, because the medicines are so safe and have such few side effects, he says.
Others argue that preventative treatment should only be given to those at greater risk. The main reason for this, Dworkin says, is cost.
A full course of treatment could cost anywhere between $100 and $160, he says. That can add up, and insurance companies might not want to pay if the risks are very, very low.
Pain And Sensitivity Management
For some individuals, the pain associated with shingles can get pretty intense, and increased sensitivity can make even a cool breeze feel excruciating. To manage discomfort, try using one of the following methods, or combine them to find what works for you.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help relieve bodily pain, as well as ease headaches and reduce fever. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any of these medications, however, because some may cause issues with your stomach or liver, depending on your medical history or dosage.
- Cool compresses can be made using a washcloth held under cool water. Avoid using ice packs because extreme temperatures can make the pain worse or hurt sensitive skin.
- Hypnosis has been shown to help relieve various forms of pain, though it might not work for everyone.
- Comfort therapylike listening to music, talking with friends, or doing other activities you enjoycan help keep your mind off of the pain.
- Wearing loose clothing, especially in areas where you might have increased sensitivity, can also help limit the likelihood of experiencing additional discomfort.
For those with severe pain or postherpetic neuralgia a complication from shingles that can cause long-term painthese coping strategies might not be enough. In those instances, healthcare providers might recommend using medications such as gabapentin or pregabalin to manage the pain.
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