Tuesday, May 28, 2024

How Can You Test For Shingles

Can You Get Shingles By Being Exposed To Someone Who Has Active Symptoms Of Shingles

Shingles: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment with Dr. Mark Shalauta | San Diego Health

No, shingles is not passed from person to person. Shingles may develop only after you have had an initial case of chickenpox. If you have never had chickenpox or have not been vaccinated and someone who has shingles exposes you to the virus for the first time, you could get chickenpox but not shingles.

What Are They Used For

Health care providers can usually diagnose chickenpox or shingles with a visual examination. Tests are sometimes ordered to check for immunity to the varicella zoster virus . You have immunity if you’ve had chickenpox before or have had the chickenpox vaccine. If you have immunity it means you can’t get chickenpox, but you can still get shingles later in life.

Tests may be done on people who don’t have or are unsure about immunity and are at higher risk of complications from VZV. These include:

  • Newborns, if the mother is infected
  • Teen and adults with symptoms of chickenpox
  • People with HIV/AIDS or another condition that weakens the immune system

Hows Shingles Without A Rash Diagnosed

Shingles without a rash isnt common, but it may be more common than previously thought because it often goes undiagnosed. Shingles without a rash is difficult to diagnose based on your symptoms alone.

Your doctor may test your blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or saliva to identify the presence of VZV antibodies. This will allow them to confirm a diagnosis of shingles without a rash. However, these tests are often inconclusive.

Your medical history may provide clues that suggest you have shingles without a rash. Your doctor may ask if youve had a recent operation or if youre under increased stress.

Once your doctor suspects you have VZV, theyll use antiviral medicines such as acyclovir to treat the shingles. They may also prescribe drugs for the pain.

Other treatment will vary based on the location and severity of symptoms.

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Why Do I Need A Chickenpox Or Shingles Test

You may need a chickenpox or shingles test if you are at risk for complications, are not immune to VZV, and/or have symptoms of infection. Symptoms of the two diseases are similar and include:

  • Red, blistering rash. Chickenpox rashes often appear all over the body and are usually very itchy. Shingles sometimes appear in just one area and are often painful.

You may also need this test if you are in a high-risk group and were recently exposed to chickenpox or shingles. You can’t catch shingles from another person. But the shingles virus can be spread and cause chickenpox in someone who doesn’t have immunity.

Can You Still Develop Shingles If Youve Been Vaccinated For Chickenpox

How Shingles Is Diagnosed

Yes. Despite being vaccinated for chickenpox, you can still get shingles. No vaccine is 100% protective, and the effectiveness of vaccines lessens with time. However, people who get the chickenpox vaccine are significantly less likely to develop shingles later in life compared with people who never received the chickenpox vaccine. One recent 12-year study found that the number of shingles cases was 72% lower in children who had received the chickenpox vaccine compared with those who didnt.

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How Is Postherpetic Neuralgia Treated

Treatments include lotions or creams and/or other medications not specifically used for pain, such as antidepressants or drugs for epilepsy. Regular pain relievers are not usually effective for this type of pain.

If your pain doesnt lessen, you might try therapies like nerve blocks or steroid injections near the area where the nerves exit the spine. Your provider might suggest an implantable nerve stimulator device for severe, ongoing pain that hasnt responded to other treatments.

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Can Shingles Be Prevented

There are 2 vaccines available to reduce the likelihood of developing shingles, Zostavax and Shingrix. If you are over 50, you can talk to your doctor about whether you need it. It is recommended for everyone over 60 and is given free of charge in Australia to people aged 70 to 79.

Vaccination will not guarantee that you will not get shingles, but it will reduce your chance of developing the condition. The vaccine used to protect against shingles is not the same as the vaccine used to protect against chickenpox. Read more about the chickenpox vaccine here.

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Can You Get Shingles If You Havent Had Chickenpox

No. You cant get shingles if youve never had chickenpox, but you can get chickenpox from someone who has shingles. If youve never had chickenpox and you come into direct contact with the oozing, blister-like rash of someone with shingles, the varicella-zoster virus can infect you and you would develop chickenpox.

Once youve had chickenpox, you could develop shingles at some point in your life. This is because the varicella-zoster virus never fully goes away after youve had chickenpox. It lies quietly inactive in your nerve tissue. Later in life, the virus may become active again and appears as shingles.

Can you get chickenpox more than once?

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.

How Long Does A Shingles Outbreak Last

Shingles: What You Should Know | Johns Hopkins Medicine

It can take three to five weeks from the time you begin to feel symptoms until the rash totally disappears.

  • First, a few days before the rash appears, you may feel pain in an area on your skin. The pain is described as itching, burning, stabbing or shooting. This usually happens before the rash comes.
  • Next, the raised rash appears as a band or a patch, usually on one side of your body. The rash usually appears around your waistline or on one side of your face, neck, or on the trunk , but not always. It can occur in other areas including your arms and legs.
  • Within three to four days, the rash develops into red, fluid-filled, painful, open blisters.
  • Usually, these blisters begin to dry out and crust over within about 10 days.
  • The scabs clear up about two to three weeks later.
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    What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Shingles

    Most people get shingles once, but its 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.

    For some people, the pain will last longer than the rash. When it does, its called postherpetic neuralgia , which can come and go or be constant. PHN can last for months, years, or the rest of your life. Treatment can help reduce the amount of pain you feel.

    Be sure to tell your doctor if you continue to have pain. Treatment can help you feel more comfortable.

    For anyone who has a shingles rash, the right self-care can help ease your discomfort. Youll find out what dermatologists recommend at, Shingles: Self-care.

    ImageGetty Images

    ReferencesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention . About shingles. Page last reviewed 10/17/2017. Last accessed 4/1/2019.

    Dooling KL, Guo A, et al. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018 67:103-8.

    Madkan V, Sra K, et al. Human herpes viruses. In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. . Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008: 1204-8.

    Straus SE, Oxman MN. Varicella and herpes zoster. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008: 1885-98.

    Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About Chickenpox And Shingles Tests

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the chickenpox vaccine for children, teens, and adults who never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine. Some schools require this vaccine for admittance. Check with your child’s school and your child’s health care provider for more information.

    The CDC also recommends that healthy adults age 50 and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months. The vaccine provides strong protection against shingles and complications from the disease. You should get the vaccine even if youâve already had shingles, as it may prevent future outbreaks.

    A different shingles vaccine called Zostavax is no longer available in the United States. If you had a Zostavax vaccine in the past, you should still get vaccinated with Shingrix. Talk to your health care provider about the best time get Shingrix.

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    Can You Get Shingles From The Covid

    There have been a few reports of shingles happening in people who were vaccinated against COVID-19. The varicella-zoster virus was reactivated in these people.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    If youve had chickenpox, youre at risk of developing shingles later in life. Shingles causes a rash that is contagious and painful. The disease can have serious complications. The best thing you can do to reduce your risk is to get the shingles vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective.

    Do You Need To Stay Away From Children People Who Are Pregnant Have Cancer Or Anyone With A Weak Immune System After You Get The Zostavax Vaccine

    Natural shingles recipe because you never know!

    According to the CDC, its safe to be around babies and young children, pregnant women or anyone with a weakened immune system after you get the Zostavax vaccine. Even though the Zostavax vaccine contains a weakened live varicella-zoster virus, the CDC says theres no documented case of a person getting chickenpox from someone who has received the Zostavax vaccine. And remember: You cant get shingles unless youve already had chickenpox.

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    Pcr Is The Most Useful Test

    Laboratory testing may be useful in cases with less typical clinical presentations, such as in people with suppressed immune systems who may have disseminated herpes zoster . Polymerase chain reaction is the most useful test for confirming cases of suspected zoster sine herpete .

    PCR can be used to detect VZV DNA rapidly and sensitively, and is now widely available. The ideal samples are swabs of unroofed vesicular lesions and scabs from crusted lesions you may also detect viral DNA in saliva during acute disease, but salvia samples are less reliable for herpes zoster than they are for varicella. Biopsy samples are also useful test samples in cases of disseminated disease. It is also possible to use PCR to distinguish between wild-type and vaccine strains of VZV.

    When Is It Ordered

    VZV antibody tests may be ordered when a health care practitioner wants to check whether a person has developed immunity to VZV, especially someone who is at high risk, such as an organ transplant recipient or a pregnant woman, and/or when a healthcare practitioner wants to identify a recent infection.

    VZV culture or DNA tests may be ordered when a person at risk, such as a newborn or immunocompromised person, has been exposed to VZV and is ill with atypical and/or severe symptoms to detect an active primary VZV infection in the baby or a primary or reactivated infection in the immunocompromised person.

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    What Triggers A Shingles Flare

    Shingles can be triggered by a number of factors, and sensitivities to each factor can vary from person to person.

    Things that weaken the immune system, such as stress, certain medications, or other health conditions, can cause shingles flare-ups, as can certain foods that contain an amino acid that helps the virus to replicate.

    Is A Vaccine Available To Prevent Shingles

    How To Find A Leak In Your Shingles

    Two vaccines are available in the United States to reduce your chance of developing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. One vaccine, Zostavax®, has been available since 2006. The second vaccine, Shingrix®, has been available since 2017. Shingrix is recommended as the preferred vaccine by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of medical and public health experts.

    Shingrix is given as a two-dose shot in your upper arm. You should receive the second dose two to six months after receiving the first. Shingrix has been shown to be more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. Its effectiveness remains above 85% for at least four years after receiving the vaccine.

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    What Causes Internal Shingles

    The varicella zoster virus causes shingles. Its the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a bout of chickenpox, the virus becomes dormant in the body and settles in certain nerves and tissue of the nervous system. Later in life, the virus can reactivate and present itself as shingles. Shingles typically appears on the skin along the nerve path where it had been previously dormant. If the reactivation of the virus becomes severe, it can affect not only the skin but other organs too. This is what is called systemic or internal shingles.

    What Do The Results Mean

    If you have symptoms and results show VZV antibodies or the virus itself, it’s likely you have chickenpox or shingles. Your diagnosis of either chickenpox or shingles will depend on your age and specific symptoms. If your results show antibodies or the virus itself and you don’t have symptoms, you either once had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine.

    If you are diagnosed with an infection and are in a high-risk group, your health care provider may prescribe antiviral medicines. Early treatment can prevent serious and painful complications.

    Most healthy children and adults with chickenpox will recover from chickenpox within a week or two. Home treatment can help relieve symptoms. More serious cases may be treated with antiviral medicines. Shingles may also be treated with antiviral medicines as well as pain relievers.

    If you have questions about your results or your child’s results, talk to your health care provider.

    Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.

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    How Is Shingles Diagnosed

    Your healthcare provider will do a complete physical exam and ask about your medical history, specifically about whether you have ever had chickenpox.

    Your healthcare provider will likely know right away that it is shingles based on the unique rash. The rash usually appears one area on one side of the body or face. It appears as red spots, small fluid- or pus-filled vesicles, or scabs.

    The healthcare provider may also take skin scrapings for testing.

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    Other Names: Herpes Zoster Varicella Zoster Virus Varicella Zoster Virus By Pcr Varicella Zoster Virus Culture Igc And Igm Varicella Zostervirus Antibodies Varicella Zoster Virus By Dfa

    Suddenly Allergic

    The chicken pox and shingles test is used to diagnose patients with illnesses in the event that they display atypical symptoms and the doctor cannotdiagnose them by physical examination alone. Chicken pox and shingles are caused by the varicella zoster virus the virus is very common and can bepassed from person to person very quickly.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles Without A Rash

    The symptoms of ZSH are similar to the symptoms of shingles, but without a rash. The symptoms are usually isolated to one side of the body and commonly occur on the face and neck, and in the eyes. Symptoms can also occur in the internal organs. Typical symptoms include:

    Shingles isnt contagious. You cant give someone else shingles. If you have shingles and are in contact with someone who hasnt had chickenpox or wasnt vaccinated for chickenpox, you can give that person chickenpox. That person would have to come in direct contact with your shingles rash.

    If you have shingles without a rash, you shouldnt be able to pass it to others. Still, its a good idea to avoid contact with people who havent had chickenpox as well as pregnant women until your other symptoms have cleared up.

    You can only get shingles if youve had chickenpox in the past. Youre at an increased risk for shingles if you:

    • are over age 50

    Who Should Be Vaccinated With Shingrix

    The Shingrix vaccine is recommended for those 50 years of age and older who are in good health.

    You should get the Shingrix vaccine even if:

    • Youve had shingles already.
    • Youve been previously vaccinated with Zostavax . If youve been vaccinated with Zostavax, wait at least eight weeks before getting vaccinated with Shingrix.
    • You dont know for sure if youve ever had chickenpox.

    Ask your healthcare provider, who knows your entire health history if getting this vaccine is right for you.

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    How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Shingles

    A dermatologist can often diagnose shingles by looking at the rash on your skin.

    If there is any question about whether you have shingles, your dermatologist will scrape a bit of fluid from a blister. This will be sent to a lab where a doctor will look at the fluid under a high-powered microscope.

    When you have shingles, the fluid contains the virus that causes shingles. Seeing the virus confirms that you have shingles.

    Your dermatologist will also ask about your symptoms. Shingles tends to be painful.

    When the shingles rash spreads to an eye, it can affect your eyesight

    You can reduce this risk by seeing an ophthalmologist immediately.

    Why Does Shingles Appear Mostly On One Side Or In One Area Of Your Body

    Shingles: What Are the Causes and Best Treatments?

    The virus travels in specific nerves, so you will often see shingles occur in a band on one side of your body. This band corresponds to the area where the nerve transmits signals. The shingles rash stays somewhat localized to an area. It doesnt spread over your whole body. Your torso is a common area, as is your face.

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