Wednesday, July 17, 2024

What Is Shingles And Is It Contagious

When To See A Doctor

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

Getting treatment shortly after the onset of symptoms can help decrease the duration and severity of infection.

This is especially important for people over 60 and those who have a weakened immune system, as this could increase the risk of developing serious complications.

If the rash continues spreading to other parts of the body or other symptoms occur, such as high fever, itâs best to consult with a doctor.

Additionally, those who develop a rash near the eye should seek immediate medical attention, as this can be a sign of HZO. The condition can cause scarring, vision loss, and permanent eye damage if left untreated.

Where Does Shingles Come From

When you have chickenpox as a child, your body fights off the varicella-zoster virus and the physical signs of chickenpox fade away, but the virus always remains in your body. In adulthood, sometimes the virus becomes active again. This time, the varicella-zoster virus makes its second appearance in the form of shingles.

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How To Prevent The Risk Of Transmitting The Herpes Zoster Virus

If you have shingles, cover your rashes with sterile bandages. Allow the skin to air dry before covering the blisters with calamine. Avoid touching your rashes and wash your hands often.

Getting vaccinated can also lower your risk of developing shingles in the future. Shingrix is an effective vaccine that provides more than 85% protection against the virus.

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What Other Problems Can Shingles Cause

Shingles can cause complications:

  • Postherpetic neuralgia is most common complication of shingles. It causes severe pain in the areas where you had the shingles rash. It usually gets better in a few weeks or months. But some people can have pain from PHN for many years, and it can interfere with daily life.
  • Vision loss can happen if shingles affects your eye. It may be temporary or permanent.
  • Hearing or balance problems are possible if you have shingles within or near your ear. You may also have weakness of the muscles on that side of your face. These problems can be temporary or permanent.

Very rarely, shingles can also lead to pneumonia, brain inflammation , or death.

Who Is At Risk For Getting Shingles

Are Shingles Contagious?

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

  • With a weakened immune system .
  • Over the age of 50.
  • Who have been ill.
  • Who have experienced trauma.
  • Who are under stress.

The chickenpox virus doesnt leave your body after you have chickenpox. Instead, the virus stays in a portion of your spinal nerve root called the dorsal root ganglion. For the majority of people, the virus stays there quietly and doesn’t cause problems. Researchers aren’t always sure why the virus gets reactivated, but this typically occurs at times of stress.

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Do You Always Get The Typical Rash If You Have Shingles

Occasionally, some people dont get a rash. If you have any of the other symptoms of shingles , see your healthcare provider sooner rather than later. There are effective treatments you can take early for shingles. Even if you dont have shingles, seeing your healthcare provider will help you get your condition diagnosed and treated.

Vaccine Effectiveness And Safety

The vaccine reduces your chance of getting the virus by more than 50%, depending on your age. Vaccine effectiveness is higher among seniors between 65 and 70 years old.

No vaccine is 100% effective. If you get vaccinated, you may still develop shingles. But the infection would likely be less severe and youd be better protected from complications.

The vaccine has been licenced by Health Canada, having met all requirements under the Food and Drugs Act.

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Are Chickenpox And Shingles Serious Illnesses

The symptoms may be more severe in newborns, persons with weakened immune systems, and adults. Serious problems can occur and may include pneumonia , brain infection , and kidney problems. Many people are not aware that before a vaccine was available, approximately 10,600 persons were hospitalized, and 100 to 150 died, as a result of chickenpox in the U.S. every year.

How Does It Spread

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

Shingles spreads via contact with the fluid or pus in a persons blisters.

If a person comes into contact with this, they may develop chickenpox if they have never had it or the varicella vaccine, also known as the chickenpox vaccine.

Shingles can transmit via coughing and sneezing only if blisters have developed in the persons oral cavity.

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How Long Does A Shingles Outbreak Last

It can take three to five weeks from the time you begin to feel symptoms until the rash totally disappears.

  • First, a few days before the rash appears, you may feel pain in an area on your skin. The pain is described as itching, burning, stabbing or shooting. This usually happens before the rash comes.
  • Next, the raised rash appears as a band or a patch, usually on one side of your body. The rash usually appears around your waistline or on one side of your face, neck, or on the trunk , but not always. It can occur in other areas including your arms and legs.
  • Within three to four days, the rash develops into red, fluid-filled, painful, open blisters.
  • Usually, these blisters begin to dry out and crust over within about 10 days.
  • The scabs clear up about two to three weeks later.
  • Can You Get Chickenpox If You’ve Been Vaccinated

    Yes. About 15% 20% of people who have received one dose of varicella vaccine do still get chickenpox if they are exposed, but their disease is usually mild. Vaccinated persons who get chickenpox generally have fewer than 50 spots or bumps, which may resemble bug bites more than typical, fluid-filled chickenpox blisters. In 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend routine two-dose varicella vaccination for children. In one study, children who received two doses of varicella vaccine were three times less likely to get chickenpox than individuals who have had only one dose.

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    If I Get The Shingles Vaccine Does This Mean Im 100% Protected From Getting Shingles

    No, just like most vaccines, getting vaccinated doesnt provide 100% protection from disease. However, getting the shingles vaccine reduces your risk of developing shingles. Even if you do develop shingles, youll be more likely to have a mild case. Also, youll be much less likely to develop postherpetic neuralgia, the painful condition that can follow a shingles outbreak.

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    What Are Shingles Treatments

    Shingles: Signs, Symptoms, Cause, Treatment, Is It Contagious?

    Effective treatments are available to help lessen the impact of shingles. For best prognosis and fastest recovery, early start of oral antiviral pills is most important. All shingles cases will eventually resolve with or without treatment.

    Treatment started at the earliest stage of symptoms is helpful in shortening the duration and severity of the symptoms. Oral antihistamines like Benadryl may be used for itching, as well as oatmeal baths and calamine lotion. Analgesic medications like ibuprofen , Tylenol, or Vicodin can be used for severe pain.

    The most difficult complication of shingles tends to be the residual pain that may last in the area for months or years. Chronic pain lasting more than six weeks after the onset of shingles is called postherpetic neuralgia . Antiviral medications including acyclovir , if given within the first 48-72 hours of the development of shingles, can help reduce the length and severity of postherpetic neuralgia. Additional treatments are available for PHN.

    Shingles is generally not contagious to those who have had chickenpox. Rarely, it may cause problems in pregnant women, infants, immunocompromised individuals, or people who have never had chickenpox. Touching the blisters or blister fluid may cause transmission of the varicella virus.

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    How Is Shingles Caused

    Shingles is caused by the reactivation of varicella-zoster, a virus that causes chickenpox. After someone has had chickenpox, the virus can stay inactive in the nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain for years without causing any symptoms until it becomes active again as shingles. The exact reason for the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus is unclear. Still, it is known that the virus can reactivate because of a weakened immune system, certain illnesses, or stress.

    When Should I See A Doctor

    If you think you may have shingles, see your doctor as soon as possible. “Treatment is most effective when given within 72 hours of the appearance of rash and blisters,” advises Dr. Mohring. “Any rash accompanied by pain, including fever or headache, should prompt you to have a conversation with your doctor, especially if it’s a fluid-filled blister.”

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    If You Have More Than One Area Of Blisters What Can You Expect If You Go To The Hospital

    Its important to note that most people with shingles dont need to be in a hospital, but if you do:

    • Youll be in a contact isolation room.
    • The door will be kept closed.
    • A sign on your door will remind people who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine not to enter.
    • The sign will also remind staff to wear gowns and gloves when entering the room.

    What Is Shingles Is It Contagious

    Is shingles contagious?

    recommend routine immunization with the varicella vaccine during childhood.

    With two doses of the vaccine, there is at least a 90% chance of preventing chickenpox. Preventing chickenpox will also prevent shingles.

    Children should receive the first dose at . The second dose is at 4â6 years.

    Tests have shown the vaccine to be safe, though some children may experience:

    • pain at the injection site
    • a fever and a mild rash
    • temporary joint pain and stiffness

    Since vaccination started in children, the number of shingles cases has dropped .

    Are vaccines safe or not? Learn more here. Click here to learn more about the brands of childhood chickenpox vaccines.

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    What Is The Risk Of Contracting Shingles

    The risk of getting shingles increases as you age, and if other conditions contribute to decreased immunity such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes mellitus , chronic renal failure, chronic liver failure, cancer/undergoing cancer treatment which involves radiation or chemotherapy, taking certain medications such as steroids for a prolonged period of time, or even pregnancy, there will be an increased risk for shingles.

    What Are The Complications Associated With Shingles

    Shingles is not usually dangerous to healthy individuals although it can cause great misery during an attack. Anyone with shingles on the upper half of their face, no matter how mild, should seek medical care at once because of the risk of damage to the eye. Very rarely, shingles can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation or death. For about one person in five, 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.

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    How Do I Get Rid Of My Symptoms

    If your doctor diagnoses you as having herpes zoster then antiviral medications can help stop any further progressions of infection towards other parts on your body.

    Antiviral drugs can also work by stopping the virus from multiplying itself and spreading further but only do this while they are being taken.

    How Can You Prevent Shingles

    How to Know If You Have Shingles Blisters

    Vaccination is the only way to reduce the chance of getting shingles since the virus that causes shingles is already present in anyone who has had chickenpox.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of recombinant zoster vaccine to prevent shingles and related complications in adults 50 years and older. Shingrix is also recommended for adults 19 years and older who have weakened immune systems because of disease or treatments they are receiving. The varicella vaccine protects against chickenpox.

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    Other Forms Of Shingles

    Shingles do not only develop on the skin. Ophthalmic shingles occurs when the virus affects the trigeminal nerve that controls the muscles, sensation, and movement of the face. This form of the infection requires immediate treatment. It can present as conjunctivitis or pink eye, which is highly contagious. Other symptoms of this eye infection include throbbing pain in the eye, blurry vision, and redness around and in the eye.

    Are There Natural Ways To Boost Your Immune System To Help Lessen The Chances Of Developing Shingles

    Stress is a risk factor for developing shingles, so limiting your stress can be helpful. Try meditation, yoga or other relaxation methods.

    Other things you can do include:

    • Eat a healthy diet.
    • Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
    • Dont smoke or use tobacco products.

    These are all tips for an overall healthy lifestyle, not just for reducing your chance of getting shingles.

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    When To Seek Medical Advice

    Shingles is not usually serious, but you should see your GP as soon as possible if you recognise the symptoms. Early treatment may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and the risk of developing complications.

    You should also see your GP if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system and you think you have been exposed to someone with chickenpox or shingles and haven’t had chickenpox before.

    Who Should Not Be Vaccinated With Shingrix

    Is Shingles Contagious?

    You shouldnt receive the Shingrix vaccine if you:

    • Have ever had a severe allergy to this vaccine or any ingredient in this vaccine.
    • Are breastfeeding or pregnant.
    • Currently have shingles.
    • Are ill and have a high fever.
    • Have tested negative for immunity to varicella-zoster virus .

    Ask your healthcare provider if the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh any potential risks.

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    How Shingles Is Spread

    People who get infected with VZV develop chickenpox. The virus then lays dormant. In some people, it becomes active again in adulthood, causing the painful condition called shingles.

    Not everyone who contracts chickenpox will develop shingles later in life. In rare cases, shingles may occur multiple times in a persons life.

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    What Makes Shingles So Painful

    The most common complication of shingles is a condition called postherpetic neuralgia . People diagnosed with PHN have severe pain for at least 90 days after the shingles rash has cleared up. The pain can lead to a lower quality of life for many people. As people get older, they are more likely to develop PHN, and the pain is more likely to be severe.

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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.

    Key Points About Shingles

    Shingles: A Serious and Painful Disease
    • 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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    What Serious Side Effects Should I Watch For After Getting The Shingrix Vaccine

    Serious side effects from vaccines are extremely rare. However, call 911 or get to a hospital right away if you experience any of the following within minutes to hours after receiving Shingrix:

    • Swelling of the face or throat.
    • Difficulty breathing.

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    What Are The Major Causes Of Shingles

    Before we start talking about the diagnosis and treatment process of shingles, lets take a quick look at all the causes of the disease.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States has already mentioned on its official website that it is caused by a similar virus which is known to cause chickenpox.

    If you have ever been diagnosed with chickenpox in your life, then there is a probability that you can develop shingles after the age of 50.

    On the other hand, people who have received the vaccine for chickenpox and they never developed the disease are also equally vulnerable to developing shingles.

    The vaccine for chickenpox also contained the virus, which is going to stay in doormat condition in your body till it is triggered. There are several factors that can trigger chicken pox virus, and it becomes shingles.

    • Our immune system, due to age or any disease, can trigger shingles.
    • Emotional stress for a longer period or depression is also known to trigger shingles.
    • Several diseases and their treatment options are also known to trigger shingles.

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