What Specialists Treat Shingles
Primary care physicians, including internal medicine specialists, family medicine specialists and/or specialists in infectious diseases, can appropriately treat some patients. An emergency medicine physician may start the initial care. However, if there is a chance the eye may be involved, an ophthalmologist should be consulted. If a person is pregnant and gets shingles, they should consult with their ob-gyn physician immediately. For long-term or chronic pain involved in postherpetic neuralgia, a neurologist and/or pain specialists may be involved in the care of the patient.
Tell The Case Manager About Your Needs
Your case manager will tell you what services your Home and Community Care Support Services organization can provide and whats available in your community. Government-funded services are delivered by health professionals and personal support workers who are under contract with your Home and Community Care Support Services organization.
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.
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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 . 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 , 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 pain.
What You Need To Know:
Shingles is a painful rash. Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox . After you get chickenpox, the virus stays in your body for several years without causing any symptoms. Shingles occurs when the virus becomes active again. The active virus travels along a nerve to your skin and causes a rash.
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Treat Your Body And Mind
You can get worn down mentally when youâre in constant pain. Stress can make it seem even worse. Self-care starts with treating your rash, but donât stop there. Your mind and emotional state need to be cared for as well.
5. Stick with good habits: Your bodyâs working hard to fight the varicella-zoster virus that causes shingles. To give it the right support, you can:
- Eat nutritious food and have regular meals. Ask someone to make a run to the grocery store for fresh fruit and such if youâre not up for it.
- Try to get a good nightâs sleep and rest anytime you need to.
- Do gentle exercises, such as walking or stretching. Light activity can help take your mind off the pain. Keep it simple though, and check with your doctor if youâre trying something new.
6. Distract yourself: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to put your focus elsewhere. Here are a few things to try:
Apply Capsaicin Ointment For Pain Relief
Capsaicin, a component found in red pepper, can ease the pain caused by shingles. This compound depletes a neurotransmitter called substance P. which helps transmit pain signals to your brain.
Ointments with capsaicin are available in the market. You can also mix a pinch of powdered red pepper with plain skin ointment to make one at home. However, do keep in mind that its not a good idea to use capsaicin ointments on broken skin. Also, application of the ointment can cause burning and itching the first few times. Do a patch test before using to ensure your skin doesnt react adversely to it.1112
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Is There A Treatment For Shingles
Several antiviral medicines, acyclovir , valacyclovir , and famciclovir , are available to treat shingles. These medications should be started as soon as possible after the rash appears and will help shorten the illness and decrease how severe the illness is. Pain medicine may also help with pain caused by shingles. Call your provider as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.
From Oatmeal Baths To Cold Compresseslearn How To Soothe Shingles Pain And Itching With These At
Shingles is a painful, blistering rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus , the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, VZV remains in the body in an inactive state. Shingles occurs when the virus becomes active again, and most often appears as a single band of blisters that wraps one side of the torso, though it can appear on any part of the body. Its estimated that one in three people in the United States will experience shingles at some point in their lifetime.
While there is no cure for shingles, there are antiviral treatments available that can ease symptoms and reduce the duration of the infection. Antiviral treatments should be started within the first 48 to 72 hours, and preferably within the first 24 hoursif you or a loved one has shingles, see a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
How to soothe shingles at home In addition to following the instructions for shingles care given to you by your healthcare provider, the ideas below may help you get relief from the itching and pain.
Apply a lotion or cream During the blistering phase of shingles you can apply calamine lotion to soothe shingles pain and itching. Be sure to wash your hands and keep the nozzle of the lotion bottle clean in order to prevent infection. Once the blisters have scabbed over, you may want to try capsaicin cream, which is used to relieve neuralgia, or nerve pain in the skin.
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Evidence Of Immunity To Varicella Includes:
- Documentation of age-appropriate varicella vaccination:
- Children age 12 months to 4 years: 1 dose of varicella vaccine.
- Children age 4 years and older, adolescents, and adults: 2 doses of varicella vaccine.
Exercise And Falls Prevention Classes
These classes help seniors stay active, healthy and independent. They focus on improving strength and balance to prevent injury and falls. They are led by fitness instructors, trained peer facilitators or support workers not a registered physiotherapist
You may find classes offered in your community or long-term care homes.
To find a class near you call the Seniors INFOline:
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Dab Calendula Oil To Ease Itching And Promote Healing
Calendula or marigold is known for its healing properties. Homeopathy recommends the use of calendula oil or gel to relieve itching and encourage healing of blisters caused by chickenpox and shingles.8 Calendula has anti-inflammatory properties and has been found to quicken wound healing as well as improve the texture of skin. Flavonoids present in this herb are thought to be responsible for this effect.9
When Should You See A Healthcare Provider For Shingles
If you experience persistent pain or a widespread itchy rash on the body or face, you should reach out to your healthcare provider. The National Institute of Aging recommends that you see your healthcare provider no later than three days after the rash or skin pain has appeared.
Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to reducing your risk for complications, helping you to heal quicker and reduce the potential for scarring.
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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.
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.
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How Is Shingles Spread
A person must have already had chickenpox in the past to develop shingles. A person cannot get shingles from a person that has shingles. However, the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles can be spread from a person with active shingles to a person who has never had chickenpox or had the chickenpox vaccine. The person exposed to the virus would develop chickenpox, not shingles. A person with shingles can spread the virus when the rash is in the blister-phase. The blister fluid is filled with virus particles. The virus is spread through direct contact with the rash or through breathing in virus particles that get mixed in the air. Once the rash has developed crusts, the person is no longer contagious. A person is not infectious before blisters appear or if pain persists after the rash is gone .
How To Treat Postherpetic Neuralgia
The good news is that Amenamevir is effective against complications associated with herpes zoster , especially PHN. After a thorough investigation by scientists, they stated the following in their 2020 research paper:
- our findings indicate that AMNV could be useful for treating AHP and PHN in patients with herpes zoster.
A scientific review that investigated numerous studies on shingles patients showed that Vitamin B-12 therapy could help in the quality of life for PHN patients, including the pain associated with it.
Ultrasound And Shockwave Therapy
A new study published on January 7, 2022, revealed promising and effective PHN treatments. Although further research is needed, there is compelling evidence that they work.
One is called ultrasound-guided stellate ganglion block. The other is extracorporeal shock wave therapy. These therapies work best if used together, according to the study.
Ultrasound-Guided Stellate Ganglion Block
According to the study, ultrasound-guided stellate ganglion block is a minimally invasive treatment procedure. Some of the ways it works are through blocking the pain response associated with PHN by:
- relaxing the nerves and muscles
- regulating the autonomous nervous system
- regulating the endocrine system
- promoting nerve repair
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy
Shock wave therapy has a powerful effect on the treatment of chronic pain. Researchers believe it primarily produces pain relief .
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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
How Long Does Shingles Last
Most cases of shingles last three to five weeks.
- The first sign is often burning or tingling pain sometimes it includes numbness or itching on one side of the body.
- Somewhere between one and five days after the tingling or burning feeling on the skin, a red rash will appear.
- A few days later, the rash will turn into fluid-filled blisters.
- About one week to 10 days after that, the blisters dry up and crust over.
- A couple of weeks later, the scabs clear up.
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Herpes Zoster Shingles Nclex Review Care Plans
Nursing Study Guide on Herpes Zoster Shingles Infection
Herpes zoster infection, commonly known as shingles, occurs after the reactivation of the primary infection, chicken pox, or varicella zoster infection.
A person who had chicken pox infection in the past will have the virus Varicella zoster lay dormant into the nerve tissues next to the brain and spinal cord.
The virus stays there without causing any problems until it is reactivated by unknown causes later in life.
Once activated, it results to a painful maculopapular rash called herpes zoster.
Is Shingles Prevention Possible Is There A Shingles Vaccine
Prevention of shingles in people who have contracted chickenpox is difficult, since the factors that trigger reactivation are not yet defined. However, if a person is never infected with the virus, shingles will not develop. Furthermore, there are at least two methods that are currently used to reduce the incidence of shingles.
First, the VZV vaccine, otherwise known as the chickenpox vaccine, may decrease the incidence of shingles by enhancing the immune system’s ability to fight off VZV or keep this virus inactive. This vaccine is usually administered to children, but the immunity may decline in about 15-20 years. The single-dose vaccine dose is given to babies 12-18 months of age. Most vaccine side effects, if they occur, are mild and range from a rash, skin redness, and swelling to small chickenpox lesions, usually at the injection site. Boosters of this vaccine for use in adults are now being investigated and may help prevent shingles in the future.
Shingrix is the vaccine the CDC currently recommends as the preferred shingles vaccine. Two doses about 2-6 months apart are more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and PHN, and it is recommended for use in people 50 and over. Side effects of Shingrix may occur and last about 2-3 days and may include redness and swelling at the inoculation site. Some individuals may experience muscle pain, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, and nausea.
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