Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Pictures Of Shingles On Your Body

Who Would Have Thought Amandas Story

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

The first time I had shingles, I noticed my left leg was extremely itchy just hours before leaving for work. I didnt think much of it I just thought I had an itch, so I kept scratching. But soon, my leg wasnt just itchy, I began to feel a lot of pain in the area I was scratching. The clinics werent open because it was the weekend, so I went to the emergency room. The ER doctor diagnosed me with shingles and prescribed Acyclovir®. With the help of Acyclovir, this first episode of shingles cleared up quickly, only lasting about four or five days. I didnt have any residual effects or pain after the first episode. I thought I was done with it. That was seven years ago.

Is Shingles On The Scalp Contagious

The answer isnt exactly straightforward. Whether or not its contagious depends on who you come into contact with.

  • Fact: Shingles is triggered when the varicella-zoster virus becomes active after an extended period of hibernation. What this means is that you cant directly pass shingles from one person to another, like you would the flu or an STI. If you come into contact with someone when you have shingles, theyre not at risk of catching it from you.

If you pass the virus on to someone who hasnt been exposed to it, you might give them chickenpox. When the varicella-zoster virus first infects a person, it comes out as chickenpox. Most people develop chickenpox in childhood, so its unlikely that youd give it to an adult. If the person does develop chickenpox from exposure to your virus, they may go on to develop shingles later in life. They wont get it directly from you, though.

If the person has already had chickenpox before, theyre not usually at risk. This is because their body will have developed antibodies against chickenpox. Although it is technically possible for someone to catch chickenpox a second time, it is very rare.

Its also worth noting that youre only contagious when your blisters are open and oozing fluid. Once they scab over again, its almost impossible to pass the virus on.

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How To Prevent Shingles: Get Vaccinated

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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Chickenpox Is Caused By The Same Virus

The same virus, varicella zoster virus, causes both chickenpox and shingles.

Chickenpox typically causes an itchy rash that spreads over the entire body, as opposed to just one side of the body or face like shingles. More than 99 percent of Americans born on or before 1980 have had chickenpox, per the CDC. If you dont know if you had chickenpox, check with your family doctor, who can review your records.

Contact Dermatitis Can Cause A Rash And Blisters

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Contact dermatitis can also cause a rash, blisters, itching, and burning, per the ACAAI. It occurs when the skin comes into contact with an irritant or an allergen, such as soaps, laundry detergents, shampoos, metals, medications, and more. Allergens like poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac can cause red, itchy rashes that may include blisters. Treatment can offer relief and aid healing.

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Severe Shingles Rash That Require Special Attention

Shingles on the FACE , shingles in the EYE, or shingles in the EAR do require IMMEDIATE medical attention.

According to doctors at Mayo Clinic, if the shingles rash reaches your eye, it can cause eye infections that could lead to temporary or even permanent loss of vision. If you have a shingles rash that is on your eye, eyelid or forehead , you should go see a doctor as soon as possible.

If the shingles rash is in or on your ear, you could develop hearing or balance problems, and in rare instances, the virus might attack your brain or spinal cord. For these reasons, if you have developed a shingles rash in or around your ear , you should seek immediate medical attention.

Other Health Problems Due To Shingles

Some people develop other health problems after the shingles rash clears, which include:

Postherpetic neuralgia : This is the most common. Occurring where you had the rash, PHN can cause constant tingling, burning, and pain. For others, the pain comes and goes.

Whether the pain is constant or intermittent, it can go on for a long time. You can have PHN for months, years, or the rest of your life. There is no way to know how long it will last.

The pain caused by PHN can become so severe that it interferes with your life, making everyday activities painful. A musician may no longer be able to play an instrument. Some people cannot walk comfortably. It may be difficult to bathe or get dressed. You may have trouble sleeping.

How to prevent PHN: If you have shingles, you can greatly reduce your risk of PHN by getting treated for shingles within 3 days of developing the rash.

Get treated for shingles within 3 days of developing the rash

Taking antiviral medication within 3 days of getting the shingles rash can: Reduce your risk of developing PHN Ease symptoms of shingles Clear the shingles rash more quickly

Other health problems that can develop after the shingles rash clears include:

  • Blindness or loss of some eyesight

Although rare, some people die of shingles.

Treatment can prevent these complications.

You can find out if you have a greater risk of developing shingles at, Shingles: Causes.

Images

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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 Vaccines Can Help Prevent Shingles

What is Shingles?

There is currently one vaccine available in the U.S. to prevent shingles. Shingrix was approved in 2017 and it is more than 90% effective in preventing shingles. With Shingrix, you get two shots between 2 and 6 months apart and protection lasts an estimated 4-5 years. Doctors recommend it for healthy people over 50 as well as those 19 years of age and older who are or will be immunodeficient or immunosuppressed due to disease or therapy..

An earlier vaccine called Zostavax was removed from the market in 2020. That vaccine used a weak form of the chickenpox virus to send your bodyâs immune system into action to fight the disease. Shingrix does not. If you received the Zostavax vaccine, it is recommended that you also receive Shingrix.

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How Is Shingles Diagnosed

As with most other diseases, doctors will typically review your symptoms first. Be sure to take note of how long youve experienced symptoms, what your exact symptoms are, and their severity. Doctors may suspect internal shingles if your symptoms involve more than your skin. They will often suspect eye or nervous system involvement based on the location of the shingles rash. However, if you have a painful rash along with a cough, severe headache, or abdominal pain, you may have a more serious complication of shingles.

Doctors may perform the following tests to confirm your diagnosis of shingles:

  • direct fluorescence antibody stain

Tingling Pain Or Numbness

During the first stage of shingles, before anything appears on your skin, a particular area of your body may begin to feel different. When a shingles outbreak is starting, you may feel itching, burning, or pain, Kim says. Often you will feel this on only one side of your body.

The initial signs of shingles may feel different for each person. In some cases, shingles can cause intense sensitivity, making it painful to even wear clothes over your skin, while in other cases, your skin may feel numb.

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Why More Adults Are Catching Childhood Diseases

Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, recalled how chicken pox hit her school before the winter holidays, and only three of 18 students in her third-grade class were onstage for a performance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control , about 4 million people used to get chicken pox every year in the United States. Of those, more than 10,000 needed hospitalization, and 100 to 150 died. With a chicken pox vaccine licensed in 1995, chicken pox has become much less common.

Dr. Jenny Murase, associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, said shes seen a few cases of chicken pox over the years: Its really unusual now to see it because people are vaccinated.

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S Of The Shingles Rash

Warning Signs of Shingles

If you have a rash of blisters on your skin or a rash that looks like any shown below, see your doctor immediately for a diagnosis. If you have shingles, its important to get treatment, preferably within 2 to 3 days.

If youve had the rash for longer than 2 to 3 days, its still important to see your doctor.

A typical shingles rash

Doctors often refer to this rash as the shingles band because it looks like a band that appears on one area of your body, as shown here.

A rash on one side of the body

A key that you have shingles is that the rash only develops on one side of your body.

Close-up of a shingles rash

The shingles rash often causes a cluster of tiny blisters. You may notice that the skin beneath the blisters is red and inflamed, as shown here.

The rash will also feel painful.

Blistering shingles rash on a man’s chest

Although the rash can begin in one area, you may notice that a few scattered blisters develop in other areas, as shown here.

Shingles rash on the palm of a man’s hand

While shingles tends to develop on your body or face, it can appear anywhere on your skin.

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Who’s At Risk For Shingles

Anyone who has ever had chickenpox can get shingles, but the risk increases with age. People older than age 60 are up to 10 times more likely to get shingles than younger people. Other factors that increase your risk include:

  • Some cancer medicines
  • A weak immune system from illnesses such as cancer or HIV

A quarter of adults will develop shingles at some point, and most are otherwise healthy.

Timeline Of Shingles Symptoms

Shingles actually doesn’t occur without a prior chickenpox infection. VZV lies dormant in nerve roots after you recover where it can reactivate years later, returning as shingles. But though they share the same viral cause, the two conditions are distinct.

The first sign of shingles is usually a burning or stinging sensation in a band-like formation around the waist, chest, stomach, or back.

You may experience itching or become incredibly sensitive to even the softest touch. The weight of bed sheets on your skin may be uncomfortable. You may also experience fatigue, fever, and headache.

After a few days or even up to a couple of weeks, the telltale shingles rash will appear. This rash consists of fluid-filled blisters that worsen quickly. The blisters may look like chickenpox, but they are clustered together.

The shingles rash can vary in color, depending on your skin tone. On darker skin, the rash may be pink, grayish, dark brown, or even purple. On lighter skin, it will be red.

This is the stage at which VZV can be passed on to someone who has never had or been vaccinated against chickenpox.

Blisters typically scab over within a week to 10 days. Shingles typically takes three to five weeks to progress through all of its stages.

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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.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles

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Shingles often starts with a burning, tingling, or painful sensation along one side of the torso or head. Within one to five days, a rash will appear. Within a few days, the rash will turn into fluid-filled blisters. The blisters will start to dry up about a week later, and will begin to disappear over the next several weeks. Some people only experience mild itching, but others have intense pain.

If you think you may have shingles, see your doctor as soon as possible, especially if you see blisters on your face or near your eye. Shingles can cause hearing or vision loss, especially if you dont get treatment for it.

No matter where your rash appears, you should seek medical treatment quickly. Your doctor can make a diagnosis and prescribe treatments to help the blisters dry up and heal. This can reduce the duration of the outbreak and your discomfort.

No cure is available for shingles, but most people who have an outbreak get it only once.

Doing the following at home may help you to feel more comfortable:

  • Get lots of rest.
  • Use cool washcloths on your rash.
  • Take oatmeal baths.
  • Keep your stress to a minimum.

You should keep the rash covered and wash your hands often to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. Shingles isnt contagious, but you can give someone chickenpox while you have it.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Shingles

Shingles may cause mild to severe pain, and the viral rash most commonly appears on the trunk, notes the CDC. Unlike chickenpox, the shingles rash usually occurs on one side of the body or face.

The first symptom of shingles is usually pain, itching, or tingling in the area where the shingles rash will later appear. This may happen several days before the rash erupts, leading to fluid-filled blisters like those of chicken pox. The blisters typically scab over in 7 to 10 days and clear up within two to four weeks, according to the CDC.

Other signs and symptoms of shingles may include:

Self-care for shingles at home includes:

  • applying calamine lotion or other creams to soothe the skin and relieve pain
  • cleaning the rash area gently to prevent bacterial infection
  • placing cool compresses on blisters to lessen pain and help the blisters heal
  • drinking plenty of water and other healthy liquids
  • reducing stress as much as possible, such as walking every day and eating nutritious food
  • resting, contact your doctor if pain is making it difficult to sleep

Who Is At Risk

If you’ve had chickenpox, you are more susceptible as you age. About 50% of people who live to age 85 will have had some shingles event in their lives. Shingles can develop for a variety of reasons, especially for those:

  • Over the age of 50, with increasing risk with each decade
  • With a weakened immune system, such as those with cancer, HIV, transplant recipients, or patients receiving chemotherapy
  • With an autoimmune disease
  • Who may have a weakened immune system due to trauma or illness

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How Shingles Can Get Into The Eyes

After the symptoms of chickenpox have cleared up, the virus lies dormant in the body. More specifically, the virus remains in the nerves. At any time, the virus can reactivate and cause shingles to develop.

When the virus reactivates in a nerve called the trigeminal nerve, it can cause shingles of the eye. The trigeminal nerve carries signals between the brain and several areas of the face, including the eye.

What Problems Can Happen

Shingles

Most cases of shingles heal on their own, with or without treatment, and wont lead to any other problems. In rare cases, shingles can lead to complications, including:

  • Ongoing pain : Damaged nerve fibers in the skin send confused messages to the brain, leading to pain. Pain can go on for a long time after the shingles rash is gone. This is the most common shingles complication.
  • Vision problems: Shingles near or in an eye can lead to vision loss.
  • Skin infections: A shingles rash can become infected with bacteria, leading to impetigo or cellulitis.
  • Nervous system problems: Shingles on the face can involve different nerves that connect to the brain. This can lead to nerve-related problems such as facial paralysis, hearing problems, and problems with balance. In very rare cases, shingles can lead to encephalitis .

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