Wednesday, April 17, 2024

What Does Shingles Look Like On Your Body

How Is Shingles Treated

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

While there is no cure for shingles, see a doctor quickly to discuss your treatment options. Typically, oral antivirals are used, which can be prescribed by your primary care or an urgent care doctor. An anti-inflammatory drug may be prescribed if the rash affects your eyes or other parts of the face. In rare incidences, hospitalizations can occur in very severe, complicated cases.

What Are Complications Of Shingles

Though shingles often resolve without any major problems, several potential complications can arise from shingles.

  • Postherpetic neuralgia : This is the most common complication of shingles. PHN is characterized by persistent pain and discomfort in the area affected by shingles. The pain can last for months to several years after the rash has cleared up. This complication is thought to occur because of damage to the affected nerves. The pain can sometimes be severe and difficult to control, and the likelihood of developing postherpetic neuralgia increases with age. This chronic post-herpetic pain can sometimes lead to depression and disability. In people 60 years of age and older with shingles, postherpetic neuralgia will develop in approximately 15%-25% of cases. It rarely occurs in people under 40 years of age. Timely treatment with antiviral medication during a shingles outbreak may help reduce the incidence of developing postherpetic neuralgia. If postherpetic neuralgia develops, there are various treatment options available including topical creams such as capsaicin , topical anesthetic lidocaine patches , antiseizure medications such as gabapentin , pregabalin , tricyclic antidepressant medications, and opioid pain medications. Intrathecal glucocorticoid injections may be useful for select patients with postherpetic neuralgia who do not respond to conventional medications and treatment measures.

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.

Call Healthline if you are unsure what you should do.

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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.

First Signs Of Shingles

Shingles: A Serious and Painful Disease

The very first indication of shingles is lingering, tingling, or burning tingling pain on just one side of the body. This may be followed by a rash that starts as small red bumps and then blisters. The blisters can grow and merge together to form large areas of raw skin. The rash usually lasts between two and four weeks may last longer in some cases.

These early warning signs are usually felt in the location where the rash will develop:

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What Should I Expect Will Happen To Me If I 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 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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Shingles Vs Poison Ivy: How To Tell The Difference

Roughly 1 in 3 people in the United States will have shingles in their lifetime, making it one of the most common viral illnesses in older adults.

Poison ivy rash is one of the most common dermatological conditions in the United States, affecting up to 50 million people each year.

While shingles and poison ivy can both cause a blistering rash, there are significant differences in symptoms between the two conditions.

In this article, well explore how to tell the difference between shingles and poison ivy, including the symptoms, treatment, and prevention for each condition.

Although shingles and poison ivy may appear similar at first glance, there are definitive differences between the symptoms of shingles and the symptoms of poison ivy rash.

A viral shingles infection generally presents with a specific type of blistery rash thats accompanied by other symptoms of malaise, such as pain, fever, chills, and headaches.

An allergic poison ivy rash may look similar, but is usually more localized and doesnt cause symptoms of feeling unwell.

The chart below outlines the primary differences between a shingles infection and a poison ivy rash.

Shingles

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What Does Shingles Feel And Look Like

A viral infection, shingles cause an outbreak of a painful rash that may appear as a band-like rash of fluid-filled blisters along one area of your body. For most patients, the rash is usually on one side of the body, where the nerve is located. Shingles won’t typically spread over your whole body but is localized to that particular nerve distribution.

What Are The Risk Factors For Shingles

Shingles disease what it looks like how to treat it

In the United States, 1 in 3 people will develop shingles in their lifetime, and there are about 1 million cases a year in the country. Older adults who had chickenpox but do not have the shingles vaccine can often have a higher risk of reactivating the varicella-zoster virus and getting shingles.

Other factors that increase your risk include:

  • conditions that weaken the immune system, such as HIV, cancer, chemotherapy, or an organ transplant
  • weakened or impaired immune system, which also increases the risk for having recurring episodes of shingles

The risk of shingles is usually 10 times greater in adults who are more than 60 years old than in children younger than 10. Much of the increase in shingles risk occurs at around 50 years old.

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Shingles Or Something Else

Small blisters that appear only on the lips or around the mouth may be cold sores, sometimes called fever blisters. They’re not shingles, but are instead caused by the herpes simplex virus. Itchy blisters that appear after hiking, gardening, or spending time outdoors could be a reaction to poison ivy, oak, or sumac. If you aren’t sure what’s causing your rash, see your healthcare provider.

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.

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When To Call A Doctor

if you:

  • Have a rash or blisters on your face, especially near an eye or on the tip of your nose. This can be a warning of eye problems. Treatment can help prevent permanent eye damage.
  • Think you have shingles. Early treatment with antiviral medicines may help reduce pain and prevent complications of shingles, such as disseminated zoster or postherpetic neuralgia .

If you still feel intense pain for more than 1 month after the skin heals, see your doctor to find out if you have PHN. Getting your pain under control right away may prevent nerve damage that may cause pain that lasts for months or years.

Is A Vaccine Available To Prevent Shingles

Shingles Rash Pictures, Symptoms, Vaccine Facts

Two vaccines are available in the United States to reduce your chance of developing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. One vaccine, Zostavax®, has been available since 2006. The second vaccine, Shingrix®, has been available since 2017. Shingrix is recommended as the preferred vaccine by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of medical and public health experts.

Shingrix is given as a two-dose shot in your upper arm. You should receive the second dose two to six months after receiving the first. Shingrix has been shown to be more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. Its effectiveness remains above 85% for at least four years after receiving the vaccine.

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How Does It Occur

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.

Outlook For People With Shingles In The Eye

Your shingles rash should heal within one to three weeks. Symptoms around your face and eyes can sometimes take up to a few months to heal.

In the early stages of the disease, your doctor will check you every few days. After youve received treatment for the infection, youll probably need to see your eye doctor every 3 to 12 months to check for glaucoma, scarring, and other long-term problems that can affect your vision.

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Zoster Sine Herpete : Shingles Without The Rash

It is possible for a person to develop shingles without being affected by the rash, although this is rare. When shingles occurs without the rash being present, this is called zoster sine herpete .

When shingles occurs without a rash, the first symptoms of the condition may involve:

  • A feeling of numbness in a certain area
  • An itchy, burning sensation
  • Generalized aches
  • Hypersensitivity to touch

When shingles is present, even without the rash, sensations will be concentrated in a specific area of the body â commonly the face, neck, one side of the torso or the eyes. However, in the absence of the shingles rash, zoster sine herpete may still rarely lead to neurological and visceral diseases, such as inflammation of the brain , Varizella pneumonia, paralysis of the facial nerves and problems related to keeping oneâs balance or problems with hearing.

Because shingles shares characteristics with many other conditions, including herpes simplex, impetigo, dermatitis herpetiformis and contact dermatitis, it can easily be confused with these conditions. In cases where a rash is not present, a laboratory test will usually be necessary to establish the presence of the varicella zoster virus in the body.

How To Prevent Shingles: Get Vaccinated

What is Shingles?

Two vaccines may help prevent the shingles virus: the chickenpox vaccine and the shingles vaccine. The shingles vaccine is approved for adults ages 50 and older and for those 18 and older with weakened immune systems or at increased risk of herpes zoster because of a disease or treatment, according to the CDC.

Per the CDC, talk to your doctor about getting a shingles vaccination if you are 50 or older or if you have the following risk factors:

  • You have cancer, especially leukemia or lymphoma.
  • You are a bone marrow or solid organ transplant recipient.
  • You take immunosuppressive medications, including steroids, chemotherapy, or transplant-related medications.

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Psoriasis Forms Red Patches On The Skin

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that is easy to confuse with the shingles rash. As with the shingles virus, psoriasis forms red patches on the skin, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. One type of psoriasis pustular can lead to the development of blisters. Areas of skin affected by psoriasis often develop into silvery scales on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. Treatment can help control the condition.

Signs Of Shingles Faqs

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.

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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.

Shingles Vs Other Skin Conditions

Shingles

Shingles is different from other conditions in several ways:

  • People may experience pain, including burning, tingling, or electrical sensations on their skin for 1 to 2 days before the rash develops.
  • The shingles rash looks like a group of small blisters or lesions.
  • The rash usually develops in one area, not as patches of blisters in different areas on the face.
  • Shingles usually affects just one side of the face.
  • Makeup, sun exposure, or an allergy do not trigger shingles.
  • Shingles will not spread from one area of the body through contact, unlike some other rashes.
  • Some people develop more lesions after the initial outbreak. These blisters might be near the location of the first rash, or somewhere else.
  • The rash begins as sore blisters that may then crack, bleed, and scab over.
  • Shingles lasts 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Shingles sometimes causes other symptoms, such as a fever, headache, muscle aches, and stomach pain or vomiting.
  • Only people who have previously had chickenpox can get shingles.

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What Are The Symptoms And Stages Shingles

Shingles symptoms appear in stages. At first, you may get headaches or feel like you have the flu, but without a fever. You may also be sensitive to light, have trouble thinking clearly or feel dizzy and weak.

A few days or even weeks later, an area of your body or face will feel itchy, tingly or painful. This is where a rash will appear. The rash will eventually turn into a cluster of blisters that are filled with fluid.

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
  • antibacterial salves or lotions to help prevent bacterial infection of the blisters
  • corticosteroids

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