Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What Are The Early Symptoms Of Shingles

Signs Of Shingles Faqs

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

Q: Are there further health risks associated with shingles?A: If left untreated, shingles is more likely to result in post herpetic neuralgia , a condition in which a burning pain continues to be felt in the areas affected by shingles for more than three months after the rash and blisters themselves have disappeared. Approximately one fifth of people who are affected by shingles will go on to develop PHN. The likelihood of shingles spreading to internal regions of the body likewise increases in the absence of a promptly initiated treatment and recovery plan.

Q: Are the signs of shingles different in adults to those in children?A: The signs of shingles in children are largely the same as the signs of shingles in adults. However, shingles in children is generally less severe and lasts for a shorter duration than in adults, and most children recover well with no associated health complications. Shingles rarely affects children under three years of age and can only affect children who have already had chickenpox. Shingles are not common in children. However, having a weakened immune system as a result of an autoimmune disease, other chronic or serious disease or because of being overly stressed, however, can increase the likelihood of a child developing shingles.

Good to know: People who have a weakened immune system, and who have never been infected by VZV before, will develop chickenpox the first time they catch the virus, rather than its subsequent form, shingles.

Can You Get Shingles If You Havent Had Chickenpox

No. You cant get shingles if youve never had chickenpox, but you can get chickenpox from someone who has shingles. If youve never had chickenpox and you come into direct contact with the oozing, blister-like rash of someone with shingles, the varicella-zoster virus can infect you and you would develop chickenpox.

Once youve had chickenpox, you could develop shingles at some point in your life. This is because the varicella-zoster virus never fully goes away after youve had chickenpox. It lies quietly inactive in your nerve tissue. Later in life, the virus may become active again and appears as shingles.

Can you get chickenpox more than once?

Its rare to get chickenpox twice in your life. Once youve had chickenpox, youre usually immune to it for the rest of your life. However, its not totally impossible. If you have a severely weakened immune system , you can get chickenpox a second time. If youve had chickenpox, you are more likely to get shingles at some point in your life than a repeat bout of chickenpox.

Preventing Shingles In The Eye

When it comes to shingles and especially ocular shingles prevention is the best medicine.

Fortunately, there are two shingles vaccines:

  • Shingrix A fairly new vaccine, Shingrix is recommended for adults ages 50 and over. You get Shingrix in two doses two to six months apart, and its more than 90% effective in protecting you from shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia. Protection stays strong for at least four years after you get vaccinated.

  • Zostavax An older vaccine for shingles, Zostavax is a live vaccine that is less effective but may be used in healthy adults ages 60 and up if theres a reason they cant have Shingrix administered. For example, someone who is allergic to a component of Shingrix may opt for Zostavax.

The availability of a newer, more effective vaccine should prevent even more shingles outbreaks. We recommend the vaccine for all of our patients, Dr. Rapuano says.

WORRIED YOU MIGHT HAVE EYE SHINGLES ?Find an optician near you and schedule an appointment.

Page published in May 2020

Find an optician near you

You May Like: What Are The Chances Of Getting Shingles

Read Also: What Does Early Signs Of Shingles Look Like

What Causes Shingles And Who Is At Risk

If youve had chickenpox in the past you can develop shingles.

This is because the inactive chickenpox virus stays in your nerve cells near your spine. When shingles develops its because the virus has become active again. Usually, a person will only get shingles once in their lives, but it can sometime occur again if you have a weakened immune system.

Shingles is more likely to occur in people who:

  • are aged over 50
  • have had an organ transplant
  • have recently had a bone marrow transplant
  • have a condition which requires treatment that affects the immune system, such as chemotherapy for cancer.

What Are Symptoms Of Shingles

Shingles Pictures  54 Photos &  Images / illnessee.com

The first signs of shingles include:

  • Unusual sensations such as tingling, itching, or burning in an area of skin on one side of the body

After one to two days, signs and symptoms of shingles include:

  • A rash that looks like a band-like pattern of blisters on one side of the body
  • Commonly appears on the trunk but can appear on almost any part of the body
  • After three to four days, blisters become open sores
  • After 7 to 10 days, sores crust over and are no longer contagious
  • A rash near the eye that can permanently affect vision if not treated
  • Often starts several days before the rash appears
  • May range from mild to severe
  • May have a sharp, stabbing, or burning quality
  • Only involves the parts of the skin affected by the rash, but it can be severe and interfere with daily activities and sleep
  • Is often worse in older adults than in younger people
  • Skin color changes and scarring may occur after shingles have gone away.

    You May Like: How Do You Test For Shingles Without Rash

    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.

    What Does A Shingles Rash Look Like

    Shingles is a painful rash that develops on one side of the face or body. The rash consists of blisters that typically scab over in seven to 10 days. The rash usually clears up within two to four weeks.

    Most commonly, the rash occurs in a single stripe around either the left or right side of the body. In other cases, the rash occurs on one side of the face.

    • This picture shows the early signs of shingles on the neck and shoulder.

    • The painful, blistering rash usually erupts in a single stripe on either the left or right side of the face or body, along a nerve path.

    • The rash usually lasts from seven to 10 days with complete healing in two to four weeks.

    Recommended Reading: What Medicine Is Used For Shingles

    How Common Is Shingles

    Shingles affects 1 out of every 3 people in the United States. More than 1 million cases of shingles are diagnosed every year. The risk of shingles increases as you get older, with about half the cases occurring in people over the age of 50. Shingles develops in about 10% of people who have had chickenpox at an earlier time in their life.

    How Is Postherpetic Neuralgia Treated

    Shingles: Pathophysiology, Symptoms, 3 stages of Infection, Complications, Management, Animation.

    Treatments include lotions or creams and/or other medications not specifically used for pain, such as antidepressants or drugs for epilepsy. Regular pain relievers are not usually effective for this type of pain.

    If pain doesnt lessen, other treatments such as nerve blocks or steroid injections near the area where the nerves exit the spine can be tried. Implantable nerve stimulator devices are an option for severe, ongoing pain that has not responded to other treatments.

    Dont Miss: How To Treat Shingles Naturally

    Recommended Reading: Where Do You Get The Shingles Vaccine

    What Are Shingles

    Shingles, also known as Herpes Zoster, is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. It is known to be a common viral infection that causes a painful rash usually on one side of the face or body. The rash consists of blisters that typically scab over in 7 to 10 days and heal within 2 to 4 weeks.

    Singles is not a life-threatening condition, but the painful rashes or blisters can be prevented by the chickenpox vaccine in childhood or the shingles vaccine in adulthood. It is estimated that 1 in 3 people will get shingles, accounting for the 1 million cases of shingles diagnosed each year.

    Source: Cleveland Clinic

    How Is It Treated

    It is best to start treatment as soon as possible after you notice the rash. See your healthcare provider to discuss treatment with antiviral medicine, such as acyclovir. This medicine is most effective if you start taking it within the first 3 days of the rash. Antiviral medicine may speed your recovery and lessen the chance that the pain will last for a long time.

    Your provider may also recommend or prescribe:

    • medicine for pain

    Don’t Miss: Best Over The Counter Pain Relief For Shingles

    What Is The Outlook

    If you have a particularly severe case of shingles, it could take months to go away. It can also become a long-term problem for some people. If you have postherpetic neuralgia, you may need to see your doctor more often.

    Complications that involve the eye or ear may require ongoing care, especially if you have lingering vision or hearing problems.

    Most people have shingles only once, but it can recur. This is more likely to happen if you have a weakened immune system.

    If you havent had any major complications, your symptoms should clear up within a matter of weeks with few, if any, lasting effects.

    How Does It Occur

    Medical Shingles Pictures  54 Photos &  Images / illnessee.com

    If you have had chickenpox, you are at risk for later developing shingles. After you recover from chickenpox, the chickenpox virus stays in your body. It moves to the roots of your nerve cells and becomes inactive . Later, if the virus becomes active again, shingles is the name given to the symptoms it causes.

    What exactly causes the virus to become active is not known. A weakened immune system seems to allow reactivation of the virus. This may occur with normal aging, immune-suppressing medicines, or another illness, or after major surgery. It can also happen as a complication of cancer or AIDS or treatment of these illnesses. Chronic use of steroid drugs may trigger shingles. The virus may also become active again after the skin is injured or sunburned. Emotional stress seems to be a common trigger as well.

    You May Like: What Do You Use To Treat Shingles

    Why Doesnt Having Chickenpox Earlier In Life Provide Immunity Against Having Shingles Later

    After having chickenpox, your body doesnt rid your system of the virus. Instead, the virus stays in a portion of the spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion. In most people, the virus simply stays there quietly and doesnt cause problems. Scientists arent always sure why the virus gets active again, but they know stress can be a cause.

    How Do Shingles Spread

    A Center for Disease Control analysis found that chickenpox cases were reduced when comparing pre-and post-vaccine availability. Prior to a chickenpox vaccine being readily available, 4 million people got chickenpox every year now, approximately 350,000 people get chickenpox every year.

    Shingles are spread through direct contact with the fluid from the developed rash or blisters. You are not spreading shingles specifically, but rather the virus that causes shingles. This same virus, the varicella-zoster virus is also responsible for chickenpox. You can only get shingles if you have been infected with chickenpox at least once.

    Therefore, someone with an active case of shingles can spread the VZV only to a person who has never had chickenpox or had the chickenpox vaccine. This would cause them to become infected with chickenpox. That person can develop shingles later due to this previous chickenpox viral infection. You can not infect another person with shingles directly.

    • Is older than 50 years old
    • Has certain diseases that weaken your immune system
    • Is undergoing cancer treatments
    • Is taking certain medications

    Read Also: What Foods Not To Eat With Shingles

    Can Infection With Vzv During Pregnancy Harm The Baby

    Many mothers-to-be are concerned about any infection contracted during pregnancy. Some infections can be transmitted to the baby either across the mothers bloodstream to the fetus or during the birth process. Chickenpox virus infection during pregnancy poses some risk to the unborn child, depending upon the stage of pregnancy. During the first 30 weeks, maternal chickenpox may, in some cases, lead to congenital malformations. Such cases are rare and experts differ in their opinions on how great the risk is. Most experts agree that shingles in a pregnant woman, a rare event, is even less likely to cause harm to the unborn child.

    If a pregnant woman gets chickenpox between 21 to 5 days before giving birth, her newborn can have chickenpox at birth or develop it within a few days. But the time lapse between the start of the mothers illness and the birth of the baby generally allows the mothers immune system to react and produce antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies can be transmitted to the unborn child and help fight the infection. Still, a small percent of the babies exposed to chickenpox in the 21 to 5 days before birth develop shingles in the first 5 years of life because the newborns immune system is not yet fully functional.

    How Is Shingles Treated

    The symptoms of shingles

    Treatment is most effective when initiated within 72 hours of the appearance of the rash. Antiviral drugs can help recover faster and reduce the risk of complications.

    Shingles rash and blisters can cause severe pain and may not reduce with over-the-counter pain medication. Treatment of pain includes:

    • Antiseizure medicines
    • Medicated lotions to reduce pain and itching
    • Over-the-counter pain killers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
    • Prescription painkillers such as codeine for intense pain

    Also Check: How Long Between Shingles Vaccine Doses

    What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles Without A Rash

    The symptoms of ZSH are similar to the symptoms of shingles, but without a rash. The symptoms are usually isolated to one side of the body and commonly occur on the face and neck, and in the eyes. Symptoms can also occur in the internal organs. Typical symptoms include:

    Shingles isnt contagious. You cant give someone else shingles. If you have shingles and are in contact with someone who hasnt had chickenpox or wasnt vaccinated for chickenpox, you can give that person chickenpox. That person would have to come in direct contact with your shingles rash.

    If you have shingles without a rash, you shouldnt be able to pass it to others. Still, its a good idea to avoid contact with people who havent had chickenpox as well as pregnant women until your other symptoms have cleared up.

    You can only get shingles if youve had chickenpox in the past. Youre at an increased risk for shingles if you:

    • are over age 50

    If Ive Had Chickenpox Once In My Life Can I Get It Again

    Its rare to get chickenpox twice in your life. Once youve had chickenpox, youre usually immune to it for the rest of your life. However, its not totally impossible. If you have a severely weakened immune system , you can get chickenpox a second time. If youve had chickenpox, you are more likely to get shingles at some point in your life than a repeat bout of chickenpox.

    Dont Miss: Does Cvs Do Shingles Shots

    You May Like: How To Heal Nerve Damage From Shingles

    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.

    Are There Any Long

    Warning Signs of Shingles

    Very rarely, shingles can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation or death. For about 1 person in 5, severe pain can continue even after the rash clears up. This pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia. As people get older, they are more likely to develop post-herpetic neuralgia, and it is more likely to be severe.

    Also Check: Is There A Booster Shot For Shingles

    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Shingles

    Shingles causes a painful, blistering rash on your skin. If you get shingles, you may notice the following:

    • Before the rash appears: For 1 to 2 days before the rash appears, you may have pain, burning, or tingling on an area of skin where the rash will develop. Some people say they felt an electrical sensation on their skin before getting the rash.

    • Rash appears: A painful, blistering rash appears. It usually appears on one side of your body, often on the torso however, it can appear anywhere on your skin. Some people get more blisters after the rash appears, so it can seem that the rash is spreading.

    • Rash starts to clear: As the rash clears, the blisters may crack open, bleed, and scab over. For most people, the rash will clear within 2 to 4 weeks.

    Although the rash will clear on its own, treatment is important. Taking medication within 3 days of getting the shingles rash can:

    • Reduce your risk of developing other health problems, such as long-lasting nerve pain, pneumonia, or hearing loss

    Shingles rash on the face

    If you have a shingles rash on your face, immediately seeing a doctor for treatment could save your eyesight.

    Popular Articles
    Related news