Week One: Stroke And Heart Attack Risk
While the risk of a post-shingles stroke is highest amongst those whose shingles outbreak impacted their eyes, overall, people with shingles have a 2.4-fold increased risk of stroke and 1.7-fold increased chance of heart attack during the first week after getting diagnosed, found a report featured in the journal PLOS Medicine. While ones risk gradually lessened after that, it takes about 27 weeks to completely roll the risk back to baseline. Its thought that shingles-induced inflammation may lead to blood clots that could then, in turn, cause a stroke or heart attack. Adding to the risk: A spike in blood pressure due to pain and stress associated with shingles.
What Are Some Common Treatments For Shingles
The CDC recommends that adults 50 years or older receive two doses of the shingles vaccine. Additionally, several antiviral medicines like acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are available to treat shingles and shorten the length and severity of the illness. These medicines are most effective when taken immediately after the rash appears.
When You Should See Your Doctor
Go to your doctor as soon as you see the rash, as treatment is most effective if its started early.
Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicine, which may help you recover faster and will reduce the chance that the pain will last for a long time.
Your doctor may also give you medicine for pain relief.
See your doctor again if:
- you get any blisters on your face
- your fever or pain gets worse
- your neck gets stiff, you cant hear properly or you feel less able to think clearly
- you develop new symptoms such as drooping or weakness to one side of your face
- the blisters show signs of infection or if you see milky yellow drainage from the blister sites.
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How Can I Take Care Of Myself
- Take a pain-relief medicine such as acetaminophen. Take other medicine as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
- Put cool, moist washcloths on the rash.
- Rest in bed during the early stages if you have fever and other symptoms.
- Try not to let clothing or bed linens rub against the rash and irritate it.
- You develop worsening pain or fever.
- You develop a severe headache, stiff neck, hearing loss, or changes in your ability to think.
- The blisters show signs of bacterial infection, such as increasing pain or redness, or milky yellow drainage from the blister sites.
- The blisters are close to the eyes or you have pain in your eyes or trouble seeing.
- You have trouble walking.
Soothing Lotions And Creams
These lotions and creams donât speed up the healing process, but they can increase your comfort level. . You can apply topical ointments containing the natural ingredient capsaicin up to three or four times a day. This is the active ingredient in chili peppers and it contains anti-inflammatory effect to help ease the pain. When you apply the cream, the pain will increase and then go away slowly. This cream works by reducing pain signals sent to your brain.
In addition, you can apply calamine lotion after baths and showers to soothe irritated skin and help dry out blisters.
What Is Shingles And What Causes Shingles To Develop
First, lets get the technical stuff out of the way. According to WebMD, if youve had chickenpox in the past, this little virus can hang out in your body for years. Its painful and most often will develop a painful, itchy, blistery rash.
WebMD explains that shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus the same virus that causes chickenpox. After youve had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.
1 in 3 people will develop shingles in their lifetimes, and while its more common to have it when youre over 60 years old, WebMD reports that more and more younger people are developing shingles. In fact, all age groups seem to have increasing rates of shingles.
Youre also more likely to develop shingles if you have a depleted immune system due to conditions like AIDS/HIV or cancer, or if youre taking medications that affect your ability to fight infections.
Do You Need To Stay Away From Children People Who Are Pregnant Have Cancer Or Anyone With A Weak Immune System After You Get The Zostavax Vaccine
According to the CDC, its safe to be around babies and young children, pregnant women or anyone with a weakened immune system after you get the Zostavax vaccine. Even though the Zostavax vaccine contains a weakened live varicella-zoster virus, the CDC says theres no documented case of a person getting chickenpox from someone who has received the Zostavax vaccine. And remember: You cant get shingles unless youve already had chickenpox.
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Who Should Not Get The Vaccine
Do not get the shingles vaccine if:
- You have a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, to any ingredient of a vaccine or to a previous dose of Shingrix
- You have shingles now.
You are sick with an illness and a fever of 101Â°F or higher.
- You should also consider delaying the vaccine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Not enough is known about its safety for expectant and lactating women.
- You have had a negative test for varicella this would be uncommon for adults eligible for the vaccine, as most adults worldwide ages 50 and older have been exposed to the virus. You do not have to be tested before getting the vaccine.
When To See A Doctor
A person should see a doctor if they are experiencing any early symptoms of shingles, especially if they have a history of shingles or are at a higher risk of developing an acute outbreak of the virus due to any of the risk factors above.
A person undergoing treatment for shingles should follow up with a doctor if:
- the symptoms get significantly worse after treatment
- the symptoms do not go away within a few weeks
- new or different symptoms appear in addition to the rash
- there are signs of secondary infection, such as high fever, an open wound, or red streaks coming out of a shingles lesion
People should also speak to a doctor if they have lasting nerve pain in the affected region after the rash of shingles disappears. This complication, called postherpetic neuralgia, affects
In many cases , a doctor will prescribe an antiviral medication, such as famciclovir, valacyclovir, or acyclovir. Pain-relieving medicine can also help ease symptoms. Calamine lotion, colloidal oatmeal compresses and baths, and cold compresses may ease the itching of shingles.
It is important to refrain from scratching the affected area as this can irritate the blisters and increase the risk of infection.
Some people develop a superimposed bacterial skin infection over their shingles lesions. This infection can be very painful, and it may spread if a person does not receive treatment. Individuals who develop this infection in addition to shingles may require antibiotic treatment or even hospitalization.
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What Are The Symptoms
The first sign of shingles is often burning, sharp pain, tingling, or numbness in your skin on one side of your body or face. The most common site is the back or upper abdomen. You may have severe itching or aching. You also may feel tired and ill with fever, chills, headache, and upset stomach or belly pain.
One to 14 days after you start feeling pain, you will notice a rash of small blisters on reddened skin. Within a few days after they appear, the blisters will turn yellow, then dry and crust over. Over the next 2 weeks the crusts drop off, and the skin continues to heal over the next several days to weeks.
Because shingles usually follows nerve paths, the blisters are usually found in a line, often extending from the back or side around to the belly. The blisters are almost always on just one side of the body. Shingles usually doesnt cross the midline of the body. The rash also may appear on one side of your face or scalp. The painful rash may be in the area of your ear or eye. When shingles occurs on the head or scalp, symptoms can include headaches and weakness of one side of the face, which causes that side of the face to look droopy. The symptoms usually go away eventually, but it may take many months.
In some cases the pain can last for weeks, months, or years, long after the rash heals. This is called postherpetic neuralgia.
What Does Early Stages Of Shingles Look Like
Shingles progress through several stages as the virus replicates in your body. Shingles start as a rash with red bumps, known as papules, distributed most frequently over your back and torso.
Within several days, grouped blisters are present. Within seven to ten days, the vesicles dry up and crust.
The early stage of shingles looks like small, red, raised, solid pimples or an inflamed rash. These are tiny, raised bumps on the skin. Eventually, these bumps blister and later crust. The beginning stages of shingles create tingling and localized pain.
The early stages of shingles are also described as itching, burning, or deep pain. People who have had shingles also described the early stages as similar to the beginning of the flu.
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.
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What Does A Mild Case Of Shingles Look Like
Not everyone with shingles will develop a blistering rash. A mild case of shingles may include a red rash without blisters. The shingles rash and blisters are distinct characteristics of the illness. Mild cases of shingles do not usually cause headaches, fever, or fatigue.
Whether mild or severe, pain is the most common symptom of shingles. Most people describe a deep burning, throbbing, or stabbing sensation. The pain usually subsides within 30 days.
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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.
What Do Shingles Look Like On The Skin
The shingles rash appears as red blotches on your skin, on 1 side of your body only. A rash on both the left and right of your body is unlikely to be shingles. The blotches become itchy blisters that ooze fluid. A few days later, the blisters dry out and scab.
Regarding this, what are the very first signs of shingles?
These signs and symptoms may include:
- Pain, burning, numbness or tingling.
- Sensitivity to touch.
- A red rash that begins a few days after the pain.
- Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over.
Also, what do shingles look like on your back? Typically, this occurs along your chest, abdomen, back, or face, but it may also affect your neck, limbs, or lower back. The area can be very painful, itchy, and tender. The blisters are contagious with skin to skin contact, After one to two weeks, the blisters heal and form scabs, although the pain may continue.
Keeping this in view, what does shingles look like?
The shingles rash can be a distinctive cluster of fluid-filled blisters often in a band around one side of the waist. This explains the term shingles, which comes from the Latin word for belt. The next most common location is on one side of the forehead or around one eye.
What can be mistaken for shingles?
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What It Really Feels Like To Have Shingles
Even if you havent had shingles, you probably know that its no fun at all. While the infectionwhich is caused by the varicella zoster virusisnt life-threatening, it can be unbelievably painful and uncomfortable. There are approximately 1 million cases of shingles in the US each year, and the chance of getting shingles in your lifetime is 1 in 3. The CDC advises people age 60 and over to get the shingles vaccine, because the risk of infection increases as you get older, but as youll see below, it can also strike young adults. Read on to learn what its like to have the virus.
It started as an itchy, tingly sensation across my lower right side, and then became somewhat hot and prickly. Having clothing against it was uncomfortable. It eventually went away, and every once in a while I get a bit of a twitch in the area. Bevlyn, 63
I started noticing a mild rash that was accompanied by a bit of pain near my lower back and hip. The pain was different and less severe than the muscle aches you get after exercise. I went to the doctor quickly, because the pictures that I saw on Google of the most severe cases were pretty frightening and I didnt want it to spread to the rest of my body. My doctor prescribed me the antiviral pill valacyclovir for 2 weeks, which kept it in check. The rash lingered the whole time I was on the meds, but faded 2 days after my last dose. Bill, 49
Shingles Symptoms: After The Rash
Just like the blisters of chickenpox, the blisters in shingles eventually burst, and the area starts to ooze. The blisters will then crust over and heal. Before the blisters crust over, the VZV virus can be spread to anyone who is not immune to chickenpox through vaccination or previous infection. Herpes zoster spreads when a person who lacks immunity has direct contact with the blisters of someone who has the virus. The scabs eventually fall off, and the rash disappears. Sometimes scarring may result.
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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.
How Do You Prevent Shingles
You can lower your risk of shingles and its complications by getting vaccinated for shingles. The shingles vaccine Shingrix is approved for people ages 50 and older and for people 18 years and older whose immune system is weakened or compromised by a medical condition or immune-suppressing medications .
Shingrix is 97% effective in preventing shingles in people ages 50 to 69 years and 91% effective in the 70 and older age group. The vaccine also reduces the risk of severe shingles and complications of shingles in all adults.
You can reduce your risk of chickenpox and subsequent development of shingles by avoiding exposure to a person with chickenpox and by getting vaccinated for these diseases as recommended by your healthcare provider.
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Early Symptoms Of Shingles
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What is shingles?
The same virus that causes chickenpox causes shingles. Its called the varicella zoster virus .
VZV stays dormant in your body even after you recover from chickenpox. The chickenpox virus can reactivate years or even decades later, but its not understood why.
When this happens, a person will develop shingles. Recognizing the early symptoms is important because it can be a painful condition with severe complications.
state that almost 1 in 3 people in the US will develop shingles in their lifetime. But some people are more likely to develop shingles than others.
It is that half of all cases of shingles occur in people aged 60 years and older.
Other groups prone to developing shingles include:
- people who have had organ transplants
- people experiencing a lot of stress