What Are The Complications Of Shingles
After the shingles rash has disappeared, you might continue to have nerve pain in that same area. Postherpetic neuralgia can last for months or years and become quite severe.
More than 10% of people who get shingles develop postherpetic neuralgia. Researchers dont know why some people get postherpetic neuralgia and others dont. It may be that nerves become more sensitive or that the virus may be invading and damaging the central nervous system.
Other complications include:
- Other types of nerve issues like numbness or itching.
- A bacterial infection of the shingles rash.
- Eye and ear inflammation if the rash is near these organs.
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.
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.
How Is Shingles Prevented
The best protection against shingles is vaccination. Chickenpox vaccine should prevent you from getting the virus, and so decrease the risk of both chickenpox and shingles. Shingles vaccine reduces the risk of getting shingles and its complications you may still get shingles, but the symptoms are usually less severe and post-herpetic neuralgia is less likely. In New Zealand there are 2 brands of vaccines that protect against shingles Shingrix and Zostavax. These vaccines differ in the way they work, their cost and how they are given. Read more about the differences between Shingrix and Zostavax.
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Treatment Of Herpes Zoster
The treatment of herpes zoster has three major objectives: treatment of the acute viral infection, treatment of the acute pain associated with herpes zoster and prevention of postherpetic neuralgia. Antiviral agents, oral corticosteroids and adjunctive individualized pain-management modalities are used to achieve these objectives.
What Are Shingles Symptoms
Common symptoms of shingles are pain and a rash in a belt-like form that stops at the midline of the body affecting only one side. Symptoms of shingles progress from burning and itching sensations to severe pain at the location of the rash. Early shingles symptoms may include burning, tingling, or a numb sensation on the skin accompanied by headache, upset stomach, and chills.
Later stages include painful fluid-filled blisters that cause severe pain, fever, and severe itching.
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Sociodemographic Characteristics Of Zoster Cases
Age, sex, and geographical health region were obtained from the extracted GPRD data. Age was categorised as 1849, 5064, 6574, 7584, or 85 years. Socioeconomic status was analysed using quintiles of the Index of Multiple Deprivation score, available for patients registered at English practices agreeing to link medical records with other databases. The patients home postcode is mapped at the lower level super output level to the corresponding 2007 IMD score a low quintile represents the least deprived. As patient-level IMD score was not available for patients from unlinked practices in England, a sensitivity analysis was run using practice-level IMD quintile when patient-level IMD quintile was unavailable.10
How Long Is Shingles Contagious
The varicella-zoster virus is contagious and can be spread from someone who has chickenpox or shingles. Although shingles is a lifelong disease, it is only contagious for some time during each episode. Shingles is contagious from the time your symptoms appear until the time that your blisters have dried or crusted, which usually happens within seven to 10 days of symptoms appearing. As long as the blistered area is covered and hands are clean the spread is contained.
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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.
What Are Common Side Effects Of Shingles Medication
Gastrointestinal side effects are common across shingles medications. These include nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, and vomiting. Its important to stay hydrated while taking medications that cause these side effects, as dehydration could be more dangerous than the virus itself.
This is not a full list of side effects. Ask a healthcare professional, such as your physician or pharmacist, for more details regarding the possible side effects of your particular medication.
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Valacyclovir For Shingles: How Effective Is It
Shingles, like other herpes viruses, is a lifelong infection and there is no cure. However, treatments like antivirals can decrease both the length and severity of your outbreak. Antivirals are most effective if started as soon as possible and include medications such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir.
Can You Still Develop Shingles If Youve Been Vaccinated For Chickenpox
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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Should I Continue To Take Acyclovir For Shingles
Question posted by kwmc on 30 Dec 2010
On Dec. 7, 2010 I was diagnosed with shingles and began taking acyclovir 5 times a day. I am still taking it. I saw the nurse practioner who said I should take the medication as long as I had the tingling senstion at the site. I did not get in to see her within the 72 hour window that is recommended but I did get in before the blisters appeared which did appear 3 days after beginning acyclovir. I am still having some tingling sensations and sometimes bee sting like pain 2 or 3 times a day. Should I stop taking acyclovir and consider this the phantom pain that sometimes remains after shingles? Will these twinges get worse if I stop the medication?
I know this is an old post, but my concern is a NP who would prescribe Acyclovir before you broke out. I saw my doctor the day before I broke out due to intense left trunk painthought I may have a kidney stone. Answer to my problem was obvious the next morning when I awoke broken out. Got shingles confirmed and started Acyclovir then.
In situations like this it is best to follow your nurse practitioners advise and keep on taking the acyclovir as long you have the tingling sensation.
It’s better to continue treatment to avoid having another episode.
When To Talk With A Professional
If you havent talked with a medical professional about the shingles vaccine, be sure to do so soon. You should also consult with a health professional within 72 hours after the first sign of shingles.
Remember, a band of blisters on one side of the face or torso, or on one leg or arm, suggests shingles.
Even if youre unsure whether its shingles or some other conditions causing a rash, have it checked out. A medical professional can make an initial diagnosis just by visually inspecting your skin.
A small piece of skin tissue may be removed and sent to a lab to confirm the diagnosis or determine whether its something else.
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Who Is At Risk Of Getting Shingles
Shingles typically affects older people, but it can also occur in healthy younger persons and even in children. Those whose immune systems have been weakened by cancer, HIV infection, AIDS, or treatment with certain medicines are also at increased risk of getting shingles.
- Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk of getting shingles later in life. About 1 in 3 people who have not been immunised against chickenpox or shingles will get shingles in their lifetime.
- Shingles usually affects older people. The older you are if you get shingles, the higher your risk of getting serious disease. People who have a weakened immune system are also at risk of getting more severe disease, even if they are young.
- Women have a higher risk of getting shingles than men.
- Most people who develop shingles have only 1 episode during their lifetime. However, you can have shingles more than once.
An attack of shingles during pregnancy will not harm the unborn baby. The mother is already carrying the varicella zoster virus before developing shingles and there is no increase in the risk of passing it on to the fetus if shingles develops. However, an attack of chickenpox during pregnancy can be serious and requires urgent medical attention.
Who Is At Risk For Getting Shingles
People who have had chickenpox who are more likely to develop shingles include those:
- With a weakened immune system .
- Over the age of 50.
- Who have been ill.
- Who have experienced trauma.
- Who are under stress.
The chickenpox virus doesnt leave your body after you have chickenpox. Instead, the virus stays in a portion of your spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion. For the majority of people, the virus stays there quietly and doesn’t cause problems. Researchers aren’t always sure why the virus gets reactivated, but this typically occurs at times of stress.
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Is Shingles Contagious
It is not possible to catch shingles from someone else with the condition, or from someone with chickenpox.
However, it is possible for someone who has never had chickenpox to catch it from someone with shingles, as the shingles blisters contains the live virus.
In the UK, chickenpox is so common during childhood that 9 out of 10 adults have already had it and will not be at risk from someone with shingles.
What Is Valacyclovir
Valacyclovir is an antiviral drug that works against herpes infections like genital herpes , cold sores , chickenpox , and shingles . Antivirals work by making it harder for viruses to copy themselves and spread from cell to cell .
Valacyclovir is a prescription drug that you take by mouth as soon as possible after developing the virus. It is important to know that valacyclovir does not cure the virus foreverit only treats the current episode, making it less painful and resolve faster than it would without medication. Also, valacyclovir can be used long term to prevent or suppress outbreaks.
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What Causes Shingles
If you have had chickenpox, you were infected with the varicella zoster virus. In the past, nearly every child would become infected by the time they were an adult, but now we have a vaccine that protects against chickenpox. When you recover from chickenpox, the virus hides out in nerve cells and stays dormant . You develop shingles when this dormant virus reactivates. This can happen if your immunity is lowered by getting older, during times of stress or by having cancer treatment or other conditions, eg, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis or type 2 diabetes.
Is Valacyclovir Safe
Valacyclovir is generally well tolerated. However, like all drugs, valacyclovir does have side effects. The most common side effects of valacyclovir include headache, nausea, abdominal pain, tiredness, depression, and skin rash . Let your healthcare provider know if you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they are severe or do not improve.
Serious side effects can occur, especially in the elderly, people with kidney problems, or those with weakened immune systems. Elderly people who use this medication are at a higher risk of central nervous system side effects like agitation, hallucinations, confusion, etc. . Also, people with kidney problems are more likely to have side effects from taking valacyclovir, and some may even experience renal failure.
Immunocompromised people, like those with HIV/AIDS, may develop a blood disorder called thrombotic microangiopathy that affects their red blood cells and platelets. Valacyclovir is classified as Pregnancy Category B by the FDAthis means that there are no adequate and well-controlled studies of valacyclovir use in pregnant women. Therefore, valacyclovir should be used in pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Breastfeeding women should also be careful when taking valacyclovir and should seek medical advice before starting this drug .
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How This Fits In
This article is the first to describe who receives antiviral therapy following a zoster diagnosis within the UK. It highlights that antivirals are under-prescribed in UK primary care, including among those particularly recommended for treatment, such as older individuals and those with immunosuppressive conditions. Although patients may present too late to receive therapy, under-treatment may reflect poor adherence to treatment guidelines. Consideration could be given to reviewing the guidelines.
Painful Rash Caused By The Chickenpox Virus
Shingles is a painful condition that affects older adults who have previously suffered from chickenpox at some point in their lives. It is caused by a reactivation of the varicella zoster virus that lies dormant in the bodys nerve cells. For reasons that scientists do not fully understand, varicella zoster can become reactivated many years after an infection with chickenpox and travel along the nerve paths to the skins surface. The virus causes a painful rash that eventually turns into tiny blisters, which break open and crust over. Antiviral drugs can be used to reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the attack, but they are effective only if they are used within 72 hours of the appearance of the rash.
For most shingles sufferers, the entire shingles outbreak lasts four or five weeks. But for almost one third of patients age 60 years or older who develop shingles, the pain lingers for months, even years. This chronic painful condition is known as postherpetic neuralgia. Postherpetic neuralgia is difficult to treat, and the long-standing pain can cause patients to become depressed and unable to care for themselves.
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If You Have More Than One Area Of Blisters What Can You Expect If You Go To The Hospital
Its important to note that most people with shingles dont need to be in a hospital, but if you do:
- Youll be in a contact isolation room.
- The door will be kept closed.
- A sign on your door will remind people who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine not to enter.
- The sign will also remind staff to wear gowns and gloves when entering the room.
How Can I Treat Shingles Naturally
The shingles virus affects the nerves, which is why a skin rash only appears in a specific area of the body rather than all over. However, nerve pain is still possible even after the shingles rash has disappeared. If the nerve fibers are damaged, they are unable to send messages from your skin to your brain. This complication of shingles is called postherpetic neuralgia and it can cause severe pain, lasting months or even years.
Postherpetic neuralgia is more common in the following patients:
- Adults over the age of 50
- Patients with another medical condition, like diabetes
- Those who experienced a severe shingles rash
- Those who experienced a shingles rash on the face or torso
- Patients who didnt begin shingles treatment within 72 hours of symptoms appearing
Besides chronic pain, symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia include depression, insomnia, suppressed appetite, and attention deficits. Fortunately, there are home remedies, over-the-counter products, and prescription medications that offer pain relief to these symptoms. Heres a long list of treatments:
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How Is Shingles Treated
The treatment for shingles helps to reduce the severity of the rash and how long it lasts. It also helps in managing the pain associated with shingles. Antiviral medicines help to fight the virus and other medications can be used to manage the pain. There are also a few things that you can do for yourself to ease your symptoms.
What Brings On An Attack Of Shingles
Its difficult to predict when a shingles episode might happen again. However, there are some risk factors you should consider.
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Acute on chronic stress
The first risk factor is age. If you are above the age of 50, ask your doctor about the shingles vaccine. In addition to being an effective shingles treatment, this vaccine is used to prevent shingles.
The second risk factor of shingles is immunity. If your immune system is weakened by illness or medication, you are at risk for contracting shingles or experiencing another shingles episode. Fortunately, you can naturally strengthen your immune system with the right diet and vitamins.
Citrus fruits, green vegetables, organic meat, eggs, whole grains, and dairy products are all part of a healthy diet. You should avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates, saturated fat, and arginine-rich foods, like nuts and seeds.
Additionally, take a multivitamin that includes vitamin A, B-12, C, and E. The amino acid lysine is also protective against infection. Many people over the age of 60 are deficient in zinc, selenium, and vitamin D. You may need to incorporate these supplements into your daily routine as well. Ask your healthcare provider for recommendations as to which vitamins and supplements you need.
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