Complications Of Shingles In The Eye
The shingles rash will fade after a few weeks, but the pain can continue for many more weeks or months. This complication is caused by nerve damage called postherpetic neuralgia, which is more common in older adults. In most people, the nerve pain will get better over time.
In the eye, swelling of the cornea may be severe enough to leave permanent scars. Shingles can also cause swelling of the retina. It can also increase eye pressure and lead to glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve. You can also develop an injury to the cornea.
Treating shingles in the eye right away can help you avoid long-term problems, including permanent vision loss.
Does The Shingles Vaccine Contain Thimerosal
You may be concerned about additives to the shingles vaccine, like thimerosal.
Thimerosal is a preservative that contains mercury. Its added to some vaccines to prevent bacteria and other germs from growing in them. The shingles vaccine contains thimerosal.
The worry about thimerosal arose when early research linked it to autism. This connection has since been found to be untrue.
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.
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Higher Intensity Of Pain With Internal Shingles
While both regular shingles and internal shingles can cause preherpetic neuralgia, this condition has been found to be more severe in the latter case.
One study found that at the onset of symptoms, after one month, and after three months, internal shingles patients had consistently more severe and persistent pain. Overall, however, preherpetic neuralgia occurs much more frequently in regular herpes zoster patients.
Shingles On The Face: Symptoms Treatments And More
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Shingles on the face
Shingles, or zoster, is a common infection that occurs due to a herpes virus.
Shingles is a rash that usually appears on one side of the chest and back. It can also develop on one side of the face and around the eye.
The condition can be very painful and can sometimes have long-term side effects. No cure for shingles is available, but early treatment can lower your risk of serious complications.
second most common rash site is the face. It can spread from the ear to the nose and forehead. It can also spread around one eye, which can cause redness and swelling of the eye and surrounding area. The shingles rash occasionally develops in the mouth.
Many people feel a tingling or burning sensation days before the first red bumps appear.
The rash starts out as blisters filled with fluid, or lesions. Some people have a few clusters of blisters scattered about, and others have so many that it looks like a burn. The blisters eventually break, ooze, and crust over. After a few days, the scabs start to fall off.
Other symptoms of shingles are:
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Am I At Risk For Shingles
Everyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for developing shingles. Researchers do not fully understand what makes the virus become active and cause shingles. But some things make it more likely:
- Older age. The risk of developing shingles increases as you age. About half of all shingles cases are in adults age 60 or older. The chance of getting shingles becomes much greater by age 70.
- Trouble fighting infections. Your immune system is the part of your body that responds to infections. Age can affect your immune system. So can HIV, cancer, cancer treatments, too much sun, and organ transplant drugs. Even stress or a cold can weaken your immune system for a short time. These all can put you at risk for shingles.
Most people only have shingles one time. However, it is possible to have it more than once.
Preventing The Virus Spreading
If you have the shingles rash, do not share towels or flannels, go swimming, or play contact sports. This will help prevent the virus being passed on to someone who has not had chickenpox.
You should also avoid work or school if your rash is weeping and cannot be covered.
Chickenpox can be particularly dangerous for certain groups of people. If you have shingles, avoid:
- women who are pregnant and have not had chickenpox before as they could catch it from you, which may harm their unborn baby
- people who have a weak immune system, such as someone with HIV or AIDS
- babies less than one month old, unless it is your own baby, in which case your baby should have antibodies to protect them from the virus
Once your blisters have dried and scabbed over, you are no longer contagious and will not need to avoid anyone.
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Can Shingles Be Prevented
There are 2 vaccines available to reduce the likelihood of developing shingles, Zostavax and Shingrix. If you are over 50, you can talk to your doctor about whether you need it. It is recommended for everyone over 60 and is given free of charge in Australia to people aged 70 to 79.
Vaccination will not guarantee that you will not get shingles, but it will reduce your chance of developing the condition. The vaccine used to protect against shingles is not the same as the vaccine used to protect against chickenpox. Read more about the chickenpox vaccine here.
Risk Factors For Shingles
Once youve had chickenpox as a child, youre at risk of getting shingles later in life. The virus stays dormant, or asleep, in your body. It hides out in nerve cells near your spinal cord, but it can become active again when youre older.
Youre at increased risk of getting shingles if you:
- had chickenpox as a child
- are age 50 or older because your immune system weakens as you age
- have a weakened immune system because of a disease like cancer, HIV infection, or AIDS
- take medicine that weakens your immune system, such as chemotherapy or radiation for cancer, or stops your body from rejecting a transplanted organ
Shingles is especially serious in some groups of people, including:
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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.
Inclusion And Exclusion Criteria
We included studies examining the incidence of HZ, risk of PHN, risk of a recurrent episode of HZ, risk of HZO, HZ-associated hospitalisation or HZ-associated mortality. For studies examining the efficacy or effectiveness of vaccination against HZ, we included estimates of incidence rates among unvaccinated individuals. We did not apply language restrictions. We did not include studies limited to children, immunocompromised populations or patients on immunosuppressive therapy . We also excluded review articles and case reports.
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Symptoms And Complications Of Shingles
During the 2 or 3 days before shingles develops, most people have pain, a tingling sensation, or itching in a strip of skin on one side of the body. Clusters of small, fluid-filled blisters surrounded by a small red area then develop on the strip of skin. Typically, the blisters occur only on the limited area of skin supplied by the infected nerve fibers. Most often, blisters appear on the trunk, usually on only one side. However, a few blisters may also appear elsewhere on the body. Typically, blisters continue to form for about 3 to 5 days. The affected area is usually sensitive to any stimulus, including light touch, and may be very painful.
Shingles symptoms are usually less severe in children than in adults.
The blisters begin to dry and form a scab about 5 days after they appear. Until scabs appear, the blisters are contagious and contain varicella-zoster virus, which, if spread to susceptible people, can cause chickenpox. Having many blisters outside the affected dermatome or having blisters that persist for more than 2 weeks usually indicates that the immune system is not functioning normally.
Rarely, the affected skin becomes infected by bacteria. Scratching the blisters increases this risk. Bacterial infections increase the risk of scarring.
Who Should Get Shingrix
Adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months. Adults 19 years and older who have or will have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix. If needed, people with weakened immune systems can get the second dose 1 to 2 months after the first.
You should get Shingrix even if in the past you:
- Received varicella vaccine
There is no maximum age for getting Shingrix.
If you had shingles in the past, Shingrix can help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time that you need to wait after having shingles before you can receive Shingrix, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has gone away before getting vaccinated.
Chickenpox and shingles are related because they are caused by the same virus . After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the body. It can reactivate years later and cause shingles.
Shingrix is available in doctors offices and pharmacies.
If you have questions about Shingrix, talk with your healthcare provider.
* A shingles vaccine called zoster vaccine live is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020. If you had Zostavax in the past, you should still get Shingrix. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best time to get Shingrix.
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Pain Associated With Shingles
The most common complication related to shingles is pain. This is a condition known as post-herpetic neuralgia or PHN. Individuals with this complication experience severe pain in the areas where the shingles rash developed.
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This pain may continue even after the rash has disappeared. Most patients with shingles find the pain subsides within a few weeks or months, but in other cases, the pain may last for years. In individuals over the age of 60, persistent pain is the most common symptom related to shingles.
Approximately one in six individuals over the age of 60 who develop shingles will experience severe pain. As individuals grow older, the chances they will develop long-term pain associated with shingles increases.
How Does Shingles/herpes Zoster Occur
When a person gets infected by the varicella-zoster virus, he/she develops chickenpox. After the chickenpox heals, the virus remains in a dormant state in the nerve roots or the dorsal root ganglia, which contains the cell bodies of sensory neurons. Years later, this virus may wake up to cause an outbreak of shingles or herpes zoster.
Although the reason for its waking up is not certain, experts believe a variety of conditions can lead to its activation such as
- weakening of the immune system
- stress and anxiety
Healthy people and young children too are not exempt from the risk. In fact, anyone who has had chickenpox is at a high risk of developing herpes zoster or shingles.
Appearance of the Blistering Rash
The distinctive feature of this illness is the rash that appears on one side of the body. The rash is accompanied by a pricking and sometimes stabbing pain. It erupts into clusters of small red patches that develop into blisters.
Within 7 – 10 days the blisters break open and a fluid comes out. During this period, if anyone who never had chickenpox before, accidentally touches the oozing blisters of the patient, he/she will develop chickenpox.
Once the fluid comes out, the rash slowly begins to dry and crust. The rash disappears completely after two to four weeks. When the blisters scab and dry, the virus cannot spread anymore.
The symptoms in the eyes usually vanish within three to five weeks.
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Strengths And Limitations Of This Study
We comprehensively reviewed the global burden of herpes zoster.
We found a similar age-specific incidence of herpes zoster in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific however, there is a scarcity of research from other regions.
Because the quality of the study, study design and study population varied widely across studies, we could not synthesise the data quantitatively.
How To Decrease Your Risk Of Complications
Treating shingles early can help shorten the lifespan of the virus.
If youre able to shorten the infection, youll decrease your risk for complications from the virus. Antiviral medication is recommended as a first line of treatment when youre diagnosed with shingles.
Getting a varicella vaccination can help you to avoid contracting shingles and chickenpox. Even if youve already had shingles, a vaccination against shingles can help to prevent the virus from reactivating in your system.
The most common complication associated with shingles is postherpetic neuralgia . PHN is long-term nerve pain that can occur in the area where your shingles rash appeared.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , of people experience PHN after a shingles outbreak.
The older you are when your shingles appears, the higher your risk for long-term nerve pain.
If the virus is left untreated, your risk for other complications related to shingles
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Is Shingles Dangerous For Elderly People
Studies show that your risks of getting shingles and incurring complications from the virus increase with age. Complications from shingles can be dangerous and cause long-term health problems, such as a is nerve pain called postherpetic neuralgia . Consequently, shingles are especially serious for those who have a weakened immune system, making it harder to fight the infection.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Shingrix
Studies show that Shingrix is safe. The vaccine helps your body create a strong defense against shingles. As a result, you are likely to have temporary side effects from getting the shots. The side effects might affect your ability to do normal daily activities for 2 to 3 days.
Most people got a sore arm with mild or moderate pain after getting Shingrix, and some also had redness and swelling where they got the shot. Some people felt tired, had muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, or nausea. Some people who got Shingrix experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities. Symptoms went away on their own in about 2 to 3 days. Side effects were more common in younger people.
You might have a reaction to the first or second dose of Shingrix, or both doses. If you experience side effects, you may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Guillain-Barré syndrome , a serious nervous system disorder, has been reported very rarely after Shingrix. There is also a very small increased risk of GBS after having shingles.
If you experience side effects from Shingrix, you should report them to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System . Your doctor might file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS websiteexternal icon, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
If you have any questions about side effects from Shingrix, talk with your doctor.
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Vaccination: Your Better Option
Compare those complications to the minor side effects that you might experience with the shingles vaccine: pain, swelling, itching at the injection site, and mild flu-like symptoms for only a few days. “The vaccine produces a robust response that really stimulates your immune system,” Dr. Mukerji says. “A lot of people have fatigue, headaches, and generally feel unwell. But those minor reactions are nothing compared to having shingles.”
According to the CDC, everyone over age 50 should get vaccinated against shingles, even if they’ve already had the disease or don’t recall having chickenpox. And since Shingrix is not made from a live virus, it’s even safe for people who have weakened immune systems.
“Shingles can be life-threatening in immune-compromised patients. It can be disabling if it’s located on the wrong nerve. And it’s completely preventable,” says Dr. Ostroksy, who visited the pharmacy on his 50th birthday to get his first dose of the Shingrix vaccine.
Who Should Not Get Shingrix
You should not get Shingrix if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix.
- Currently have shingles.
- Currently are pregnant. Women who are pregnant should wait to get Shingrix.
If you have a minor illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe illness, with or without fever, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine.
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