Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Is It Possible To Have Shingles Without A Rash

Diagnoses And Treatment Of Shingles Without Rash

Shingles: What you need to know about causes, symptoms, and prevention.

If you note that you are suffering from symptoms typically associated with shingles but without any rash it is important to tell your doctor right away. While you may not develop a rash, patients will still feel the tingling, burning sensation associated with the virus moving from the nerves to the skin. This sensation will typically only be on one side of the body. If you have had the chickenpox virus you will need to talk with your doctor to confirm your diagnosis. Because there are no blisters to check, your doctor may perform a blood test to check for the shingles virus. This will also help them rule out other conditions that cause similar symptoms.


Once it is determined that you are suffering a shingles outbreak, your doctor will determine what level of care is appropriate. Many patients can be treated with medications like Valacyclovir or Acyclovir and home remedies such as cool baths and cool/wet compresses. In severe cases patients may need to stay in the hospital for treatment.

When Should I See My Doctor

See your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any symptoms of shingles. Starting treatment with antiviral medicines within 3 days of the rash appearing should reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of further complications, including post-herpetic neuralgia.

See your doctor straight away if you have symptoms of shingles and are experiencing the following:

  • symptoms that affect your eye area
  • a temperature of 38°C or higher

You should also see your doctor if you are pregnant, or have a weakened immune system due to medicine that suppresses the immune system, or a condition that weakens your immune system.

Hives And The Shingles Rash Are Often Confused

Hives are another type of allergic reaction that can be confused with the shingles rash. Hives are red, itchy bumps and swollen areas of varying sizes that can appear anywhere on the body. The allergic reaction that prompts hives can come from exposure to certain medications, foods, latex, or a viral infection. A quarter of Americans will experience hives at least once in their lives, while one in three Americans over 60 will get the shingles virus. Hives will clear up on their own, but the process can take months.

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Complications Of Peripheral Neuropathy

The outlook for peripheral neuropathy varies, depending on the underlying cause and which nerves have been damaged.

Some cases may improve with time if the underlying cause is treated, whereas in some people the damage may be permanent or may get gradually worse with time.

If the underlying cause of peripheral neuropathy is not treated, you may be at risk of developing potentially serious complications, such as a foot ulcer that becomes infected.

This can lead to gangrene if untreated, and in severe cases may mean the foot has to be amputated.

Peripheral neuropathy may affect the nerves controlling the automatic functions of the heart and circulation system .

You may need treatment to increase your blood pressure or, in rare cases, a pacemaker.

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Prevention Of Herpes Zoster

Difference Between Shingles and Herpes

Because the risk of serious complications from herpes zoster is more likely in older people, those aged over 60 years might consider the zoster vaccine, which can reduce the incidence of herpes zoster by half. In people who do get herpes zoster despite being vaccinated, the symptoms are usually less severe, and post-herpetic neuralgia is less likely to develop. In New Zealand, the zoster vaccine will be funded from 1 April 2018 for people aged between 66 and 80 years old.

Herpes zoster vaccination is contraindicated in immunosuppressed patients due to the risk of it causing disseminated herpes zoster infection.

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Psoriasis Forms Red Patches On The Skin

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that is easy to confuse with the shingles rash. As with the shingles virus, psoriasis forms red patches on the skin, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. One type of psoriasis pustular can lead to the development of blisters. Areas of skin affected by psoriasis often develop into silvery scales on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. Treatment can help control the condition.

Systemic Disease Produced By Vzv Reactivation Without Rash

reported a case of fatal hepatic necrosis caused by VZV in a 64-year-old woman. She had undergone splenectomy 14 months before the fatal hepatitis. The postmortem diagnosis was based on characteristic pathological changes in the liver, the detection of herpesvirus virions in liver by electron microscopy, and serologic evidence of recent VZV infection. A report of fulminant fatal disseminated VZV infection without rash occurred in an 8-year girl undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia virus was present in blood, lungs, liver, kidneys, and bone marrow . Although the nervous system was spared in both patients, these cases confirm the existence of disseminated VZV infection of multiple organs in the absence of rash.

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • Ive had chickenpox. Am I at risk of developing shingles?
  • What is the best treatment for my shingles?
  • The pain from shingles isnt going away. What can I do to make myself more comfortable?
  • Im on treatment for shingles. When should I call my doctor if things dont get better?
  • I have shingles and my children havent had the chickenpox vaccine. Should I get them vaccinated?
  • Is the shingles vaccine right for me?
  • Are there any risks associated with the shingles vaccine?
  • Will my post-herpetic neuralgia ever go away?
  • If Ive never had the chickenpox, should I still get the shingles vaccination?

How To Prevent Shingles: Get Vaccinated

Shingles Virus FAQs Answered | Shingles Causes, Symptoms Treatment | Dr. Jen Caudle

Two vaccines may help prevent the shingles virus: the chickenpox vaccine and the shingles vaccine. The shingles vaccine is approved for adults ages 50 and older and for those 18 and older with weakened immune systems or at increased risk of herpes zoster because of a disease or treatment, according to the CDC.

Per the CDC, talk to your doctor about getting a shingles vaccination if you are 50 or older or if you have the following risk factors:

  • You have cancer, especially leukemia or lymphoma.
  • You are a bone marrow or solid organ transplant recipient.
  • You take immunosuppressive medications, including steroids, chemotherapy, or transplant-related medications.

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What Are Shingles Vaccine Side Effects

Expected side effects from Shingrixinclude pain, redness or swelling at the site where the injection is given, headache, fever, tiredness, muscle pain and stomach discomfort. Side effects should improve within two to three days.

Anyone who is allergic to the vaccine should not receive a shingles vaccine. Someone who has a weakened immune system due to a medical condition or medication or anyone who is interested in receiving the vaccine should talk to their pharmacist or healthcare provider to see if the shingles vaccine is the right choice for them.

Treatment If The Condition Gets Worse

In some cases, shingles causes long-term complications. Treatment depends on the specific complication.

  • Postherpetic neuralgia is persistent pain that lasts months or even years after the shingles rash heals. Certain medicines, such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and opioids, can relieve pain. Most cases of PHN resolve within a year.
  • Disseminated zoster is a blistery rash over a large portion of the body. It may affect the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, joints, and intestinal tract. Treatment may include both antiviral medicines to prevent the virus from multiplying and antibiotics to stop infection.
  • Herpes zoster ophthalmicus is a rash on the forehead, cheek, nose, and around one eye, which could threaten your sight. You should seek prompt treatment from an ophthalmologist for this condition. Treatment may include rest, cool compresses, and antiviral medicines.
  • If the shingles virus affects the nerves originating in the brain , serious complications involving the face, eyes, nose, and brain can occur. Treatment depends on the nature and location of the complication.

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Can You Get Shingles After Being Vaccinated

  • Can You Get Shingles After Being Vaccinated? Center
  • Shingles is a viral infection. It presents with a rash followed by an episode of intense pain in the infected area. This is caused by the virus called varicella zoster. This virus also causes chickenpox. If a child has had chickenpox, the virus may not completely go away, lie dormant in the body and come back years later as shingles. Older individuals and immunocompromised individuals are more likely to develop shingles. The shingles vaccine is generally recommended for those older than 50 years of age and immunocompromised individuals .

    The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved two vaccines to effectively prevent shingles: Zostavax and Shingrix. Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia . Two doses of Shingrix are more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. The vaccine is more than 85 percent effective for at least the first four years after vaccination. It is possible to get shingles after being vaccinated since no vaccine is 100 percent effective. However, the vaccine can considerably reduce the risk and intensity of shingles episodes.

    Symptoms Of Zoster Sine Herpete

    Difference Between Shingles and Herpes

    Zoster sine herpete is not common and can be hard to diagnose as the most common and differentiating shingles rash is not present. Other symptoms of ZSH are similar to regular shingles, which include:


    Shingles is a very painful disease. This pain is typically described as a deep boring or stabbing sensation that is very severe. Because of the impact on the nervous system this pain may have an electric feel to it. In many cases pain will only affect one side of the body and will be localized to a specific area of the skin, though the disease can affect as many as three spinal nerves at a time. As the disease affects the skin, patients may experience a prickling, itching, or numbness on the skin as well.

    Flu-like Symptoms

    Patients will often develop flu-like symptoms just before the skin lesions appear. This can include body or muscle aches, headaches, mild fever, a general feeling of illness or poor appetite. These symptoms can last as long as 7-10 days. It is important to note that unlike a cold, patients will not develop a runny nose or cough when suffering from shingles.

    Movement Problems

    Other Symptoms

    • Pain radiating from your spine
    • Sensitive to touch

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    The First Symptoms Of Shingles

    Early symptoms of shingles can appear several days before the more obvious symptoms. However, some people will not have early symptoms before a rash appears.

    The most common early symptoms occur on one part of the body or face. This often happens in the abdominal area.

    These symptoms many include:

    The pain can worsen as shingles develops. The pain can be sharp, stabbing, and intense.

    It may also cause hypersensitivity, or an excessive reaction to touch.

    There are also other early symptoms of shingles.

    Although not every person with shingles will experience them, early symptoms include:

    • general feeling of being unwell

    Your doctor can often diagnose shingles based on these symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe medication to speed up recovery.

    Medication also reduces the chance of complications, so seeking early intervention is important.

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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 havent had chickenpox before.

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    Symptoms Of Shingles Without Rash

    As mentioned above, the most characteristic feature of shingles is appearance of blisters and pain. They are fluid filled blisters that develop in the area of skin innervated by the affected nerve. The rash in a typical case of shingles is almost always unilateral. It can occur on any side of the body, left or right.

    Before the appearance of tiny blisters, patient often complains of severe pain on the skin surface. After one or two days cluster of blister erupts on the affected nerve root in a linear manner. These symptoms are classical symptoms of shingles.

    In rare cases shingles develop without appearance of blisters. Without classical rash it is difficult to diagnose shingles. The condition is often misdiagnosed, thus knowing the symptoms of herpes without rash will help to know the condition in a better way.

    • Burning and shooting pain along the innervations of the nerve on the skin. Pain is also experienced in muscles. Since the typical rash is absent, the clinical diagnosis is often misinterpreted as some other ailment. For example if it occurs on chest, especially on left side physician may suspect it to be pain originating from heart or lung.
    • Often fever is present with pain.
    • Patient may also complain of body ache, headache, malaise etc.
    • If shingles is present on arm or leg, patient may complain of weakness of the affected limb.

    Why Is Shingles Painful


    After first causing chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus lies dormant in the dorsal root ganglion, which is also the pain center of the spinal cord. Its where your sensory nerves meet up before heading to the brain. So, every portion of your body has a corresponding portion of the spinal cord that controls its pain. An area of skin whose sensory nerves form a single nerve root is called a dermatome.

    According to Dr. Gurland, when that nerve root gets irritated by the shingles virus, it sends pain signals to the brain that make the corresponding dermatome or skin region hurt. This is called neuropathic pain, and its notoriously harder to treat than more common types of pain like a toothache.

    Shingles pain tends to be worst on the more sensitive portions of the body. The face can be particularly painful, as a single nerve root there concentrates the sensitivity. A rash on the back or belly would be less painful because the nerve endings there are more diffuse, but it would still be unpleasant at best.

    Typically, shingles is most painful within 4-5 days of the onset of symptoms and the blistering rash and then it can begin to dissipate as the blisters scab over, which can take 7-10 days . But for some patients, significant pain can last much longer weeks, months, and rarely it can lead to lifelong pain. The entire course of shingles usually takes from 3-5 weeks to recover and the rash to totally clear, but this can differ by person.

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    What To Think About

    For some people, non-prescription pain relievers are enough to help control pain caused by shingles or post-herpetic neuralgia. But for others, stronger medicines may be needed. And if prescription medicines donât help control your pain, you may need to see a pain specialist about other ways to treat PHN.

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    Who Gets Herpes Zoster

    Anyone who has had varicella may subsequently develop herpes zoster. Zoster can occur in childhood but is much more common in adults, especially older people. People with various kinds of cancer have a 40% increased risk of developing zoster. People who have had zoster rarely get it again the chance of getting a second episode is about 1%.

    Herpes zoster often affects people with weak immunity.

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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.

    What Is Id Cares Experience Caring For Shingles Patients

    Herpes Zoster Shingles Pathophysiology â Herpes Free Me

    There are over 50 physicians at ID Care across 10 New Jersey locations, and our team keeps growing, said Dr. Gurland, including advanced care providers with broad experience treating patients with shingles, and who understand exactly how the disease progresses, how to fight it, and how to keep it from coming back.

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    Where Does Shingles Appear On The Body

    People most commonly have shingles blisters or a localized rash appearing on one side of the trunk and shoulder area. People may also experience shingles on the back, scalp, face or neck. Other areas shingles may appear include the arms, hands or legs, and some people may even develop shingles in the eyes. In rare cases, it’s possible to have shingles without a rash. The rash develops in new clusters every three to five days before drying and crusting over, typically in seven to 10 days, and fully clears up within four weeks.

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