Can You Get Shingles In The Eye
Its most common to get the shingles rash on your chest, back or legs but you can get shingles on the face and eye, Rapuano says. About 15% of cases involve shingles in the eye area, he says.
However, theres a difference between having shingles around the eye and having shingles in the eye, which doctors refer to as eye involvement, Rapuano says. A patient can have shingles around the eye area without the eye itself being involved, he says.
About half of people who have shingles on the forehead or nose will also have eye involvement.
Ocular shingles typically occurs in one eye on the same side of the face as the rash. It typically occur after the shingles rash on the body has resolved, Rapuano says.
A patient who has had shingles on the face may feel like theyre healing well but then notice a symptom such as redness in the eye. When this happens, patients need to see an eye doctor right away, Rapuano says.
Home Remedies For Addressing Shingles
Comprehensive shingles self-care at homes involves the following
- Applying calamine lotion and other essential creams to ease discomfort and soothe the skin
- Gently clean the shingle rash area to avoid bacterial infection.
- Applying cool compresses to the shingles blisters to help reduce discomfort and speed up healing.
- Regularly taking water and other nutritious beverages.
- Resting more often. You can consult the doctor for the pain medication prescription if you cannot sleep because of the pain.
- Minimizing shingles stress by taking walks each day and consuming healthy foods.
What Causes The Virus To Recur
It is commonly believed that a weakness in the bodys immune system is the reason the virus starts to come out of its resting phase in the nerve endings and migrate to the surface of the skin. People who have compromised immune systems or disease are more likely to have more painful and prolonged outbreaks.
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What Does Shingles Feel Like
To put it simply, shingles hurts and it makes you feel exhausted.
Before Id felt any shingles symptoms in my skin, I felt an overwhelming sense of fatigue. Not knowing a virus was chilling out in my nerve tissues and preparing to wage war in my body, I put on my gym clothes and walked to the YMCA. I took my usual classes and feigned a grin. Then I went home and napped for four hours.
But one morning I woke up and everything was a little different. The right side of my head and neck were in total agony. Yes, classic symptoms of shingles. But I had zero idea. I was just scared.
In my experience, shingles feels like someone boiling pins and them jabbing you with them. It was all I could do not to shriek each time the nearly electrical sensation struck.
I went to the bathroom to splash water on my face and noticed that my right eye was looking a little puffy and felt well weird. It was at this point that I, totally rationally , began to assume that I was slowly dying. Not at all an overreaction or anything!
Healthline explains that early on, shingles feels like burning or under your skin. Yep, I can confirm that. But its not just that.
Early symptoms of shingles may include fever and general weakness. You may also feel areas of pain, burning, or a tingling sensation. A few days later, the first signs of a rash appear. And boy did it.
Heres a photo of my shingles rash:
Finally I gave in and called the doctor.
When To Seek Care
Home remedies may be enough to help you get through an outbreak before it heals and goes away.
But seek immediate medical attention if herpes symptoms are disruptive to your daily life or if youre experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Sores or blisters dont go away on their own after 2 weeks or get worse over time.
- Pain or discomfort becomes severe and distracting, even with home treatment.
- You have severe symptoms like a fever that dont get any better for more than a week.
- You have severe pain or discomfort when you urinate or have a bowel movement.
- You feel any hardness or lumps under the skin around the infected area or in your genital area.
- You have trouble passing urine or stool or cant do either without severe pain or obstruction.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Shingles
Shingles usually appears as a single row of blisters that may wrap around one side of your torso, one side of your face or neck, or around one eye. It is almost always unilateral, meaning it involves only one side of the body.
But you can get a shingles rash anywhere: on your feet, your buttocks, your legs, even your genital area, according to a case report from Anne Louise Oaklander, MD, PhD, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and the director of the nerve unit and skin biopsy lab at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Shingles tend to show up most frequently on the torso, just because of the laws of probability, notes Joseph Safdieh, MD, an associate professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine and the medical director of the neurology clinic at NewYorkPresbyterian Hospital in New York City. In that area of your body, there are 24 nerves that can host the virus, compared with the 10 in your lower back.
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You Cannot Get Shingles From Someone With Chickenpox
You cannot get shingles from someone with shingles or chickenpox.
But you can get chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have not had chickenpox before.
When people get chickenpox, the virus remains in the body. It can be reactivated later and cause shingles if someone’s immune system is lowered.
This can be because of stress, certain conditions, or treatments like chemotherapy.
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Vesicular Rash On The Flank And Buttock
Am Fam Physician. 2003 Mar 1 67:1045-1046.
A three-year-old boy presented with a vesicular rash on the right flank and right buttock . There was no associated fever. The child was delivered vaginally after a pregnancy notable for maternal varicella at 10 weeks gestation. Apgar scores were 7 and 9 at birth. He was breastfed for four months. His past health was unremarkable. He was not known by the parents to have chickenpox. Except for varicella vaccination, his immunizations were otherwise up-to-date. There was no recent exposure to infectious diseases. He did not have any known allergies.
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Is The Shingles Rash Dangerous
The shingles rash doesnt usually cause any long-term damage to your body. However, if your rash develops on your face or ears, it can cause long-term issues Ill explain the full risks in the section below.
No matter how minor your case of shingles you should still go see your doctor to get treatment for your shingles. Theyâll likely provide you with medication to ease your pain and help fight the virus.
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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.
Fever Blisters And Cold Sores Are Oral Herpes Too
Fever blisters and cold sores are just different names for oral herpes, and theyve been around for a very long time. Legend has it that in ancient Rome, the emperor Tiberius banned kissing at public events because of an outbreak of fever blisters. In other words, they even knew back then how contagious fever blisters are.
The best way to protect yourself is to avoid contact with a person who has a cold sore and refrain from sharing eating utensils, lip balm, and the like. Note that someone with oral herpes can give you genital herpes if they perform oral sex on you. Avoid kissing and oral sex when outbreaks are present.
There is no cure for fever blisters and no vaccine to prevent them, although research into preventing and treating them is ongoing. If you do get oral herpes, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medication and topical anesthetics to relieve symptoms. Some people also choose to take antiviral medication to make cold sores go away faster.
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How Do Dermatologists Treat Shingles
An antiviral medication can:
Reduce the amount of time that you have a shingles rash
Lower your risk of developing long-lasting nerve pain and other health problems
One of three antiviral medications is usually prescribedacyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir.
To treat your symptoms, dermatologists typically recommend the following:
Pain: Medication that you can buy without a prescription can help, such as:
If you have severe pain, your dermatologist may prescribe a medication that reduces inflammation, such as a corticosteroid.
What Is Shingles And What Are Its Causes
Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. The rash can appear anywhere on the body, but is most often found on the torso.
Shingles is a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Following the chicken pox, the virus lies asleep or dormant in nerve tissue. It never truly goes away though. The virus may awaken as Shingles years later. This occurs especially in times of stress or illness.
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Can Other People Catch Shingles
This one is confusing! You can catch chickenpox from other people, but you can’t catch shingles from other people. You only get shingles from a reactivation of your own chickenpox infection in the past.
So if you have shingles, and you come into contact with somebody else, they cannot ‘catch’ your shingles. But if they have never had chickenpox, it is possible that they could catch chickenpox from you.
To put it another way, no, you don’t ‘catch’ shingles. It comes from a virus hiding out in your own body, not from someone else. But if you have shingles, you may be infectious, as it is possible for people to catch chickenpox from you.
Only people who have never had chickenpox are likely to be at risk of catching chickenpox from your shingles. People who have had chickenpox should be immune from catching it again. If the rash is in a covered area of skin, the risk of anyone with whom you are not in close contact catching chickenpox is very low.
What Does A Herpes Rash Look Like
A herpes rash looks like a cluster of small, fluid-filled blisters near the mouth or genitals. The location of the rash depends on which type of herpes virus you have. The rashes might develop repeatedly, but you can take medications to help prevent or shorten outbreaks. Many people with the herpes virus never develop a rash or any other symptoms of an infection.
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Antiviral Medicines For Shingles
Antiviral medicines used to treat shingles include aciclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir. An antiviral medicine is not a cure for shingles, it does not kill the virus but works by stopping the virus from multiplying. So, it may limit the severity of symptoms of the shingles episode.
An antiviral medicine is most useful when started in the early stages of shingles . However, in some cases your doctor may still advise you have an antiviral medicine even if the rash is more than 72 hours old – particularly in elderly people with severe shingles, or if shingles affects an eye.
Antiviral medicines are not advised routinely for everybody with shingles. As a general rule, the following groups of people who develop shingles will normally be advised to take an antiviral medicine:
- If you are over the age of 50. The older you are, the more risk there is of severe shingles or complications developing and the more likely you are to benefit from treatment.
- If you are of any age and have any of the following:
- Shingles that affects the eye or ear.
- A poorly functioning immune system .
- Shingles that affects any parts of the body apart from the trunk .
- Moderate or severe pain.
If prescribed, a course of an antiviral medicine normally lasts seven days.
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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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.
How Long Will The Effects Last
The rash from shingles will heal in 1 to 3 weeks and the pain or irritation will usually go away in 3 to 5 weeks. When shingles occurs on the head or scalp, the symptoms usually go away eventually, but it may take many months.
If the virus damages a nerve, you may have pain, numbness, or tingling for months or even years after the rash is healed. This is called postherpetic neuralgia. This chronic condition is most likely to occur after a shingles outbreak in people over 50 years old. Taking antiviral medicine as soon as the shingles is diagnosed may help prevent this problem.
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Risk Factors Associated With Shingles
Some of the risk factors that can increase the chances of developing shingles disease are
Over 50 years old: Medical research studies indicate that shingles are more common among individuals who are above 50. Typically, the risks of developing shingles elevate with age.
Cancer treatment: Therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy tend to minimize the body’s resistance to various diseases. This increases the risk of shingles or even triggers the infection.
Certain health conditions: Illnesses that weaken the body’s immune system, including cancers and HIV/AIDS, can increase the possibility of developing shingles.
Certain drugs: Medications that are prescribed to prevent transplanted organ rejection can sometimes increase the chances of shingles. Also, extended use of steroids, including prednisone, can trigger shingles infection.
Skin Care And Itch Relief For Shingles
To relieve itching and discomfort, try:
- A cool, wet compresses on the affected skin
- Soothing baths and lotions, such as colloidal oatmeal bath, starch baths, or calamine lotion
- Zostrix, a cream that contains capsaicin
- Antihistamines to reduce itching
Keep your skin clean. Throw away bandages you use to cover your skin sores. Throw away or wash in hot water clothing that has contact with your skin sores. Wash your sheets and towels in hot water.
While your skin sores are still open and oozing, avoid all contact with anyone who has never had chickenpox, especially pregnant women.
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Whos At Risk For Getting Shingles
Your risk for shingles increases as you age. Other people who have a greater risk include:
- people with health conditions that weaken their immune system, such as HIV, lymphoma, or leukemia
- people who have been prescribed immunosuppressive drugs, including steroids and drugs used with organ transplant recipients
Although shingles isnt common in children, a child is more at risk for shingles if:
- the childs mother had chickenpox late in the pregnancy
- the child had chickenpox before 1 years old