Wednesday, May 29, 2024

How Is The Shingles Virus Transmitted

Risk Factors For Shingles

Varicella zoster virus – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

If youve had chickenpox, youre at high risk for shingles. More than 99% of Americans born before 1980 have had chickenpox, and about 1 in 3 Americans will develop shingles . Shingles is much more common among older adultsthose aged 65 and olderthan among younger people .

People who have a weak immune system are also at greater risk for shingles. This includes people who have HIV, those who have undergone an organ transplant, and those who are receiving chemotherapy .

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.

Where Does Shingles Come From

When you have chickenpox as a child, your body fights off the varicella-zoster virus and the physical signs of chickenpox fade away, but the virus always remains in your body. In adulthood, sometimes the virus becomes active again. This time, the varicella-zoster virus makes its second appearance in the form of shingles.

You May Like: Where Are Gaf Shingles Manufactured

Control Measures For Patients With Disseminated Or Generalized Rash

  • If the rash is disseminated , follow standard precautions plus airborne and contact precaution until the lesions are crusted, regardless of if the patient is immunocompromised or immunocompetent.
  • Place patient in negative airflow rooms. If this is unavailable, place patients in their own room and keep the door closed. Those without immunity to varicella should not enter the room.
  • Only health care workers with adequate immunity to varicella should care for patients with zoster.

Key Points About Shingles

Ontario should fund shingles vaccine: Editorial
  • Shingles is a common viral infection of the nerves. It causes a painful rash or small blisters on an area of skin.
  • Shingles is caused when the chickenpox virus is reactivated.
  • It is more common in people with weakened immune systems, and in people over the age of 50.
  • Shingles starts with skin sensitivity, tingling, itching, and/or pain followed by rash that looks like small, red spots that turn into blisters.
  • The rash is typically affects just one area on one side of the body or face.
  • Treatment that is started as soon as possible helps reduce the severity of the disease.

Recommended Reading: How To Keep From Getting Shingles

What Should You Expect If You Get Shingles

Shingles can be a very painful condition. If you think you have the symptoms of shingles, see your healthcare provider right away. Starting antiviral medications early can ease your discomfort and end symptoms earlier.

A better approach to shingles is to take action and do what you can to lessen your risk of getting it. If you’ve never had shingles in the past, talk to your healthcare provider about getting the shingles vaccine. If youve never had chickenpox, talk with your healthcare provider about getting the chickenpox vaccine.

Im Pregnant And Have Had A Blood Test For Chickenpox What Do The Results Of This Test Show

The blood test can show that you:

  • Are immune and have no sign of recent infection. You have nothing further to be concerned about.
  • Are not immune and have not yet been infected. You should avoid anyone with chickenpox during your pregnancy.
  • Have or recently had an infection. You should discuss what the risks are for your stage of pregnancy with your healthcare provider.

Recommended Reading: Where Can I Buy Certainteed Landmark Shingles

What Is The Best Way To Prevent Shingles

Your best chance at preventing shingles is to get vaccinated. There is one vaccine, Shingrix, which is very effective in preventing shingles and complications, including postherpetic neuralgia.

  • Shingrix is a recommended vaccine for all adults age 50 years and older whether or not they have had shingles or previously received varicella vaccine. The vaccine is a series of two doses. The administration of the second dose is given 2 to 6 months after the first dose.

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

Shingles: Pathophysiology, Symptoms, 3 stages of Infection, Complications, Management, Animation.

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.

Read Also: How To Know You Have Shingles

What Are The Complications Associated With Shingles

Shingles is not usually dangerous to healthy individuals although it can cause great misery during an attack. Anyone with shingles on the upper half of their face, no matter how mild, should seek medical care at once because of the risk of damage to the eye. Very rarely, shingles can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation or death. For about one person in five, severe pain can continue even after the rash clears up. This pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia. As people get older, they are more likely to develop post-herpetic neuralgia, and it is more likely to be severe.

The Symptoms Of Shingles

The main symptom of shingles is a painful rash. That rash often takes the form of a single band of blisters that appear on one side of your body or face, although it can also be more widespread .

Before your rash is visible, you may feel burning pain, itching, or tingling on or around the area of skin where your blisters will show up . Other symptoms of shingles are headaches, chills, fatigue, an upset stomach, and other fever-like symptoms .

Once your rash starts to appear, it often takes the form of two or three crops of blistersagain, arranged in a kind of strip or bandthat are fully formed within three to five days. Those blisters can be very painful. They will usually break open, leak fluid, and then crust over. This phase usually lasts two-to-four weeks. The shingles rash and blisters typically heal and disappearalong with all their other symptomswithin three to five weeks .

If new lesions are still showing up more than a week after their initial appearance, that may be a sign that your immune system isnt working right .

Don’t Miss: How Do You Spread Shingles

What Should I Do About An Exposure To Varicella

If you have been in contact with someone with chickenpox or shingles, or if you have a rash-associated illness that might be chickenpox or shingles, discuss your situation with your healthcare provider. Blood tests may be done to see if you have become infected with the virus or have had the disease in the past. If you are pregnant and not immune and have been exposed to chickenpox or shingles, call your healthcare provider immediately. Your provider may choose to treat you with a medication called varicella-zoster immune globulin , but in order for this medication to be most helpful, it needs to be given as soon as possible after your exposure to varicella.

Are There Natural Ways To Boost Your Immune System To Help Lessen The Chances Of Developing Shingles

Why Does Shingles Cause More Pain Than Chickenpox?

Stress is a risk factor for developing shingles, so limiting your stress can be helpful. Try meditation, yoga or other relaxation methods.

Other things you can do include:

  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
  • Dont smoke or use tobacco products.

These are all tips for an overall healthy lifestyle, not just for reducing your chance of getting shingles.

Recommended Reading: Owens Corning Cool Duration Shingles

How To Prevent Shingles

If youve had chickenpox, theres a vaccine that can lower your risk for shingles. This vaccine is called Shingrix. The CDC recommends that healthy people 50 and older get the shingles vaccine. Even if youve already had shingles, the vaccine can prevent you from getting it again .

If youve never had chickenpox, theres a vaccine for that illness too. The CDC recommends it for anyonekids or adultswho have never had chickenpox. If youre vaccinated against chickenpox, youre also greatly protected from shingles .

To sum all this up, shingles is caused by a contagious virus. But there are steps you and others can take to stop the viruss spread or protect yourself from shingles.

Who Should Avoid Contact With Shingles

One way of preventing the spread is to avoid contact with people who have shingles blisters.

If a person gets chickenpox, they usually only have it once. This is for shingles. A person is unlikely to have shingles more than once, unless they have a weakened immune system, which may result from a health issue or immunosuppressant treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Anyone with shingles blisters should especially avoid contact with:

  • Pregnant people who have never had chickenpox or its vaccination: If chickenpox develops during pregnancy, especially 521 days before birth, it can be dangerous for the fetus.
  • Children who have not had chickenpox or its vaccination: Until a child is vaccinated, they should avoid contact with anyone who has chickenpox or shingles blisters.
  • People with weakened immune systems, such as:
  • infants born early or with a low birth weight
  • people with HIV, leukemia, lymphoma, or other health issues that have this immune effect
  • people who take immunosuppressant medications, such as chemotherapy
  • people who have had organ transplants

After contact with the varicella virus, a person in any of the above groups may be unable to ward off the infection. Their risk of developing chickenpox, then shingles and its complications may be higher.These groups are also likely to have the illnesses for longer, and the symptoms may be more severe.

increase the risk of shingles.

Ways of managing the symptoms include:

Don’t Miss: What To Expect After Shingles Shot

What Illnesses Does Varicella

Chickenpox first occurs as a blister-like skin rash and fever. It takes from 10-21 days after exposure for someone to develop chickenpox. The sores commonly occur in batches with different stages present at the same time. The blisters usually scab over in 5 days. A person with chickenpox is contagious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs. Children with weakened immune systems may have blisters occurring for a prolonged time period. Adults can develop severe pneumonia and other serious complications.

Shingles occurs when the virus, which has been inactive for some time, becomes active again. Severe pain and numbness along nerve pathways, commonly on the trunk or on the face, are present. Clusters of blisters appear 1 to 5 days later. The blisters are usually on one side of the body and closer together than in chickenpox. Shingles does not spread as shingles from one person to another. If people who have never had chickenpox come in contact with the fluid from shingles blisters, they can develop chickenpox.

When Should I See A Doctor

Shingles (Herpes Zoster): Pathophysiology, Risk Factors, Phases of Infection, Symptoms, Treatment

If you think you may have shingles, see your doctor as soon as possible. “Treatment is most effective when given within 72 hours of the appearance of rash and blisters,” advises Dr. Mohring. “Any rash accompanied by pain, including fever or headache, should prompt you to have a conversation with your doctor, especially if it’s a fluid-filled blister.”

Don’t Miss: What Is The Treatment For Shingles In The Eye

What Is Shingles And What Causes It

The varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox is the same virus that causes shingles. When you’ve had chickenpox as a child or teenager, the physical signs disappear as your body fights off the virus. However, the virus always remains in your body and can reactivate as you age.

For some, the virus stays in the body quietly in a portion of your spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion. For others, the virus can become reactivated and develop into shingles.

Shingles: Symptoms Causes Treatment

For people with postherpetic neuralgia, shingles pain lingers around the site of the skin rash. That pain is often cutting or burning, and it continues for three months or longer after the rash has gone away. Experts arent sure why some people with shingles develop postherpetic neuralgia. Out-of-control inflammation may be the cause .

Some other shingles complications include :

  • Scarring at the site of the blisters
  • A secondary bacterial infection
  • Brain inflammation caused by infection
  • Hearing problems or vision loss

Don’t Miss: What Do You Do When You Have Shingles

Shingles On Your Buttocks

You can get a shingles rash on your buttocks. Shingles usually only affects one side of your body, so you may have a rash on one buttock but not the other.

As with other areas of the body, shingles on your buttocks may cause initial symptoms like tingling, itching, or pain.

After a few days, a red rash or blisters may develop. Some people experience pain but dont develop a rash.

. After the varicella-zoster virus initially reactivates, your skin may:

Shingles usually develops on one side of your body, often on your waist, back, or chest.

Within about 5 days, you may see a red rash in that area. Small groups of oozing, fluid-filled blisters may appear a few days later in the same area. You may experience flu-like symptoms such as a fever, headache, or fatigue.

During the next 10 days or so, the blisters will dry up and form scabs. The scabs will clear after a couple of weeks. After the scabs clear, some people continue to experience pain. This is called postherpetic neuralgia.

Who Is At Risk For Shingles

Are Shingles Contagious?

You! About 98 percent of adults have had chickenpox and are at risk for shingles. In the United States, at least 1 million people get shingles each year. Shingles is far more common in people age 50 and older than in younger people. About half of shingles cases occur in people age 60 or older. It is more common in people who have a weakened immune system because of a disease, such as cancer or human immunodeficiency virus , or from drugs, like steroids or chemotherapy. Anyone can get shingles, though, including children.

Recommended Reading: Where Do Shingles Usually Appear

Should I Get The Shingles Vaccine

“Because the vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of developing herpes zoster and shingles complications, getting the vaccine is highly recommended,” says Dr. Mohring. “I strongly recommend it for all patients 50 years or older and those who are immunocompromised. It’s safe and effective and reduces severity if you have a breakthrough episode.”

The Shingrix vaccine is a two-dose series given two to six months apart. It’s been shown to be over 90% effective in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia and remains over 85% effective for at least four years afterward. You will not get shingles from this vaccine, and it is generally safe for those with weakened immune systems.

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.

  • 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.
  • Also Check: What Type Of Doctor Treats Shingles

    Precautions To Take Around People With Shingles

    If youve had chickenpox or shingles before or youve received the chickenpox vaccine, you dont have to worry about getting infected yourself since youre immune to the virus. However, you dont want to unintentionally spread the virus to those whove never had chickenpox.

    If youre in contact with someone with shingles, you should avoid directly touching their rash. You should also avoid touching their clothes, bedding, towels, or anything else that might have touched their rash. If you must touch these items, you should wash your hands thoroughly immediately after contact. Even if you’ve already had chickenpox, if you get the fluid from the sores on your hands, you could potentially spread the virus on accident. You could touch a doorknob and leave some of the virus behind. Wash your hands often to avoid this.

    If you haven’t had chickenpox before and haven’t been vaccinated, you should avoid direct contact with shingles sores and should also avoid contact with anything the sores might have touched . Also, you should go get the chickenpox vaccine anyone 12 months or older is eligible to receive the vaccine.

    Who Should Be Vaccinated With Shingrix

    Chickenpox, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

    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.

    Read Also: What Do You Use To Treat Shingles

    How Is Shingles Treated

    Specific treatment for shingles will be determined by your healthcare provider based on:

    • Your age, overall health, and medical history
    • How long the shingles have been present
    • Extent of the condition
    • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
    • Expectations for the course of the condition
    • Your opinion or preference

    There is no cure for shingles. It simply has to run its course. Treatment focuses on pain relief. Painkillers may help relieve some of the pain. Antiviral drugs may help lessen some of the symptoms and reduce nerve damage. Other treatments may include:

    • Creams or lotions to help relieve itching
    • Cool compresses applied to affected skin areas
    • Antiviral medicines
    • Anticonvulsants

    Popular Articles
    Related news