Friday, June 21, 2024

What Does A Shingles Rash Look Like

Where Does Shingles Rash Appear

Shingles: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment with Dr. Mark Shalauta | San Diego Health

Shingles usually develops on one side of your body, often on your waist, back, or chest. Within about 5 days, you may see a red rash in that area. Small groups of oozing, fluid-filled blisters may appear a few days later in the same area. You may experience flu-like symptoms such as a fever, headache, or fatigue.

Treating Shingles On The Face

Treatment is the same no matter where shingles develop. Treatment will involve taking an antiviral drug to reduce the severity of the outbreak and help it disappear more quickly.

People will see the best results if they take antiviral medication within 72 hours of the rash appearing.

In most cases, a doctor will prescribe the drugs famciclovir and valacyclovir. People with weak immune systems may need to take a different drug, such as acyclovir, instead.

Most research suggests anti-shingles drugs are safe for people who are breast-feeding, but those who are pregnant or breast-feeding should discuss medications with their doctors.

People who develop PHN may also require pain medication. PHN medication may include oral drugs, such as opioids or creams that people can apply directly to the skin.

Once You’ve Had Shingles Can It Come Back

Reoccurrence is relatively uncommon. Only a small percentage of patients may have a second episode, more commonly in women. “Three or more shingles episodes in the same person is considered extremely rare,” says Dr. Mohring. “In this case, it would prompt us to investigate other potential diseases that may be going on. Those with higher risk factors, especially weakened immune systems or autoimmune disease, are the most at risk for reoccurrence.”

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What Causes Eye Shingles

Before we take a closer look at shingles affecting the eye , lets talk about what causes shingles in the first place: the chickenpox virus.

As an adult, you may have a hazy memory of spending a week in bed, your itchy body dotted in pink calamine lotion as you binged on daytime TV and ate popsicles by the box.

The blisters may be long gone, but the chickenpox virus still lies dormant in your body.

About one in three U.S. adults will get shingles when the varicella-zoster virus that sparked their childhood chickenpox reactivates in the body, according to Mayo Clinic.

Shingles typically starts out as a band of tenderness or tingling on your skin and then turns into a painful rash.

People will tell you, It was the worst pain I ever had, Rapuano says.

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What Is Shingles What Does Shingles Look Like

Shingles: A Serious and Painful Disease

Shingle is a disease characterized by a painful, blistering skin rash that affects one side of the body, typically the face or torso. This condition may also be referred to as herpes zoster, zoster, or zona. The word shingles come from the Latin word cingulum, which means belt. There are approximately 1 million estimated new cases per year in the U.S., with almost one out of every three people developing shingles at some point in their lifetime. Though most people who develop shingles will only have a single episode, there are some who develop recurrent cases of shingles. Shingles are more common in older individuals and in those with weakened immune systems.

The characteristic rash of shingles typically appears after an initial period of burning, tingling, itching, or stinging in the affected area. After a few days, the rash then appears in a stripe or band-like pattern along a nerve path , affecting only one side of the body without crossing the midline. The rash erupts as clusters of small red patches that develop into blisters, which may appear similar to chickenpox. The blisters then break open and slowly begin to dry and eventually crust over.

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When To Seek Care

Early shingles symptoms, such as pain or flu-like feelings, are not obvious signs of a shingles outbreak.

Once a rash appears, you should see your primary care physician or a dermatologist. A trained eye can often diagnose shingles by visually inspecting the rash.

If you have shingles, you may never experience the extreme pain that can often come with it. You may only feel itching and some minor discomfort.

Even without the painful symptoms of shingles, its recommended that you see a healthcare professional and start antiviral treatment within 72 hours of a rashs appearance.

Its especially important to seek prompt medical care if a rash forms near one or both eyes. Shingles in the eye may cause permanent vision loss.

Key Points About Shingles

  • Shingles is a common viral infection of the nerves. It causes a painful rash or small blisters on an area of skin.
  • Shingles is caused when the chickenpox virus is reactivated.
  • It is more common in people with weakened immune systems, and in people over the age of 50.
  • Shingles starts with skin sensitivity, tingling, itching, and/or pain followed by rash that looks like small, red spots that turn into blisters.
  • The rash is typically affects just one area on one side of the body or face.
  • Treatment that is started as soon as possible helps reduce the severity of the disease.

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Can Shingles Cause Chronic Pain

In some people, the pain of shingles may linger for months or even years after the rash has healed. This pain, due to damaged nerves in and beneath the skin, is known as postherpetic neuralgia. Others feel a chronic itch in the area where the rash once was. In severe cases, the pain or itching may be bad enough to cause insomnia, weight loss, or depression.

What Should I Expect Will Happen To Me If I Get Shingles

Shingles disease what it looks like how to treat it

Shingles can be a very painful condition. If you think you have the symptoms of shingles, see your healthcare provider right away. Starting antiviral medications early can ease your discomfort and reduce the duration of your symptoms.

A better approach to shingles is to take action and do what you can to lessen your risk of getting it. If you never had shingles or had a bout of them in the past, talk to your healthcare provider about getting the shingles vaccine. If youve never had chickenpox, talk with your healthcare provider about getting the chickenpox vaccine.

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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.

When Should I Get The Shingles Vaccine

The current shingles vaccine is a safe, easy, and more effective way to prevent shingles than the previous vaccine. In fact, it is over 90% effective at preventing shingles. Most adults age 50 and older should get vaccinated with the shingles vaccine, which is given in two doses. You can get the shingles vaccine at your doctors office and at some pharmacies.

You should get the shingles vaccine if you:

  • Have already had chickenpox, the chickenpox vaccine, or shingles
  • Received the prior shingles vaccine called Zostavax
  • Dont remember having had chickenpox

Medicare Part D and private health insurance plans may cover some or all of the cost. Check with Medicare or your health plan to find out if it is covered.

You should not get vaccinated if you:

  • Currently have shingles
  • Are sick or have a fever
  • Had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the shingles vaccine

If you are unsure about the above criteria or have other health concerns, talk with your doctor before getting the vaccine.

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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.

Can Eye Shingles Cause Blindness

Not Sure if it related to shingles, need your opinion : shingles

Even with proper treatment, some eye shingles patients still develop eye disorders such as corneal scarring, glaucoma or retinal disease.

For example, eye shingles can cause:

  • A corneal dendrite which may lead to a scar

In the most severe cases of eye shingles, a patient may need a corneal transplant.

Eye shingles is not contagious. It cannot be spread to another person.

However, a person who has shingles-related rash anywhere on their body can transmit chickenpox virus to someone who hasnt already had chickenpox or been vaccinated for the condition.

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What Should You Expect If You Get Shingles

Shingles can be a very painful condition. If you think you have the symptoms of shingles, see your healthcare provider right away. Starting antiviral medications early can ease your discomfort and end symptoms earlier.

A better approach to shingles is to take action and do what you can to lessen your risk of getting it. If you’ve never had shingles in the past, talk to your healthcare provider about getting the shingles vaccine. If youve never had chickenpox, talk with your healthcare provider about getting the chickenpox vaccine.

Shingles Complications: Postherpetic Neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia is the most common complication of shingles. This is defined as persistence of the nerve pain associated with shingles beyond one month, even after the rash is gone. It occurs from irritation of the sensory nerves by the virus. The pain of PHN can be severe and debilitating. Up to 15% of people with shingles develop PHN. Typically, this occurs in people over 50 years of age. Treatment of shingles with antiviral drugs can reduce the duration and occurrence of postherpetic neuralgia.

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What Is The Most Painful Stage Of Shingles

Typically, the peak pain of shingles is felt within 4 or 5 days after the first symptoms develop, and it comes along with a blistering rash. As the blisters scab over, the pain usually starts to disappear. In some cases, the pain does not go away. This is known as a condition called postherpetic neuralgia.

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The pain was my constant companion which made me feel very melodramatic and like a Brontë character. I made it to the local garden center and nursery without incident. I needed to look at something fresh and vibrant.

Then, as I took off my sunglasses to inspect a potted plant, I heard a kid ask him mom. What happened to her eye, mama? Whats wrong with her eye?

If I had been in possession of a velvet cape to twirl about myself as I skulked off into the darkness, believe me, I wouldve.

But I didnt. So instead, I pocketed my sunglasses and smiled at the kid in question.

Do you know chicken pox? This is shingles, and its chicken pox for grown ups, I told him with a smile on my crusty face.

He considered this as his mom squirmed. Do you get to stay home? he asked.

I nodded Yup. And watch TV.

In just a matter of seconds Id gone from the Beast to a source of envy.

As I write this, Im still blistery and keeping a relatively low profile, but Im no longer housebound. Im also no longer avoiding my reflection. I look and assess and I dont see good or bad or pretty or ugly.

I just see a face, and if I look super close I can almost make out myself.

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The First Symptoms Of Shingles

Early symptoms of shingles can appear several days before the more obvious symptoms. However, some people will not have early symptoms before a rash appears.

The most common early symptoms occur on one part of the body or face. This often happens in the abdominal area.

These symptoms many include:

The pain can worsen as shingles develops. The pain can be sharp, stabbing, and intense.

It may also cause hypersensitivity, or an excessive reaction to touch.

There are also other early symptoms of shingles.

Although not every person with shingles will experience them, early symptoms include:

  • general feeling of being unwell

Your doctor can often diagnose shingles based on these symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe medication to speed up recovery.

Medication also reduces the chance of complications, so seeking early intervention is important.

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What Are Risk Factors For Shingles

Shingles can only occur in individuals who have previously been exposed to the varicella-zoster virus. Risk factors for the development of shingles include the following:

  • Increasing age: Though shingles can rarely occur in children, it is much more common in older adults, with the incidence increasing with age. This is thought to be in large part due to waning immunity as people age. Approximately 50% of all cases of shingles occur in adults 60 years of age or older.
  • Weakened immune system: Individuals with impaired immune systems have a higher probability of developing shingles. This can be seen in diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS, or in individuals taking certain medications. Patients taking steroids or other immunosuppressive medications, such as people who have undergone organ transplants, and individuals with certain autoimmune diseases are at increased risk for developing shingles.
  • Psychological and emotional stressors are also thought to possibly contribute to the development of shingles, perhaps from the detrimental effects of stress on the immune system and the persons health.

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Am I Contagious If I Have Shingles

Shingles cannot be passed from one person to another. But someone who has never had chickenpox can contract VZV from a person with active shingles. They would then develop chickenpox, not shingles.

Only direct contact with fluid from shingles blisters can transmit the virus. Keep shingles blisters covered with a fluid absorbent dressing to prevent others from contracting the virus.

What Is Shingles And What Causes It

3 Ways to Treat Throat Shingles

The varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox is the same virus that causes shingles. When you’ve had chickenpox as a child or teenager, the physical signs disappear as your body fights off the virus. However, the virus always remains in your body and can reactivate as you age.

For some, the virus stays in the body quietly in a portion of your spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion. For others, the virus can become reactivated and develop into shingles.

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Herpes Simplex Is Mistaken For The Shingles Rash

Herpes simplex type 1 causes blisters or sores on the mouth, lips, and face, and is transmitted by contact with saliva containing the virus. Herpes simplex type 2 is sexually transmitted and causes similar sores and ulcers on and around the genitals. Either type of herpes remains dormant in the body and can cause future outbreaks. The blisters caused by herpes simplex could be mistaken for those caused by the shingles virus, but herpes sores are usually localized around the mouth or genitals.

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Measles Rash Looks Like Flat Red Spots

Like the shingles rash and herpes simplex, measles is caused by a virus. Measles is highly contagious. Symptoms of measles typically begin with a high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, according to the CDC. Three to five days later, a rash that looks like flat red spots appears, normally starting on the face at the hairline and spreading down the body to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. Measles is a very serious disease that can lead to complications and death fortunately, it can be prevented with a measles vaccine.

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Who Is At Risk For Getting Shingles

People who have had chickenpox who are more likely to develop shingles include:

  • People with a weakened immune system .
  • People over the age of 50.
  • People who have been ill.
  • People who have experienced trauma.
  • People who are under stress.

After having chickenpox, your body does not rid your system of the virus. Instead, the virus stays in a portion of the spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion. For the majority of people, the virus stays there quietly and doesnt cause problems. We arent always sure why the virus gets reactivated, but this typically occurs at times of stress.

Symptoms Of Chicken Pox

Herpes Zoster or Shingles

What are symptoms of chicken pox and what does chicken pox look like? The rash from chicken pox is what separates it from most other diseases. The blisters look like dew drops scattered on skin. They are in a lot of different phases. Some are just coming on, others are more fully formed and others are crusted and drying up, Murase said.

The rash can cause 250 to 500 itchy blisters that start on the chest, back and face before spreading to the rest of the body, according to the CDC.

Chicken pox in adults is serious the older you are the more serious it can be, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology . Its also dangerous for babies, adolescents, pregnant women and immunocompromised people, the CDC says.

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