How To Prepare For A Telehealth Visit For Shingles
If you think you may have shingles or you have already been diagnosed with shingles but have a question regarding its course or treatment, it’s a reasonable step to promptly schedule a telehealth visit with a board-certified dermatologist.
If you do not have a dermatologist or your dermatologist does not provide telehealth services, you can search online for one through the American Academy of Dermatology. You may also consider using an online telehealth company, such as TeleDoc or Doctors on Demand, to find a dermatologist.
If a teledermatology visit is not possible, seeing your primary care healthcare provider or an advanced nurse practitioner will also generally suffice. Shingles is a common skin ailment, so most primary healthcare professionals are very comfortable diagnosing and treating it.
How Contagious Is Shingles
Shingles is not contagious, but the varicella-zoster virus that causes it can be spread to another person who hasnât had chickenpox, and they could develop the disease. You canât get shingles from someone with shingles, but you can get chickenpox.
The varicella-zoster virus is spread when someone comes into contact with an oozing blister. Itâs not contagious if the blisters are covered or have formed scabs.
To prevent spreading the varicella-zoster virus if you have shingles, be sure to keep the rash clean and covered. Do not touch the blisters, and make sure to wash your hands often.
You should avoid being around at-risk people, such as pregnant people and people who have weak immune systems.
for adults ages 50 and older.
Zostavax is a live vaccine, which contains a weakened form of the varicella-zoster virus. The CDC recommends the newer Shingrix vaccine because itâs over 90 percent effective and is more likely to last longer than the Zostavax vaccine.
While side effects such as allergic reactions are possible from these vaccines, the CDC has no documented cases of the varicella-zoster virus being transmitted from people who were vaccinated.
What Happens During The Visit
Your telehealth visit will proceed in a very similar manner as an in-person visit.
Your provider will greet you and then briefly review your medical history and medication list. Since you are calling about a specific concern , your provider will likely jump right into asking you questions about your skin and symptoms.
Example questions may include:
- Do you have pain, and if so, is it limited to the area of the skin affected by the rash?
- Are you experiencing any unusual skin sensations ? Did these sensations precede the development of the rash?
- Have you had a fever or headache?
- How long has your rash been present? What did it look like when it first started?
Next, your provider will ask to see the rash on your skin, either through video or a picture. Since a shingles rash always corresponds to a dermatome, the rash will crop up in one part of the skin on one side of the body.
As a result, you should not have to fully undress, but you may need to remove or lift up a single article of clothing during your visit .
After the exam and assessment are over, your healthcare provider may confirm a diagnosis of shingles and rule out alternative diagnoses like herpes simplex virus , impetigo, contact dermatitis, an autoimmune process, or a drug reaction.
You may be prescribed a combination of antiviral and pain-relieving medications. These medications can be prescribed electronically to a home delivery service or to your local pharmacy, based on your preference.
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Is Shingles Prevention Possible Is There A Shingles Vaccine
Prevention of shingles in people who have contracted chickenpox is difficult, since the factors that trigger reactivation are not yet defined. However, if a person is never infected with the virus, shingles will not develop. Furthermore, there are at least two methods that are currently used to reduce the incidence of shingles.
First, the VZV vaccine, otherwise known as the chickenpox vaccine, may decrease the incidence of shingles by enhancing the immune system’s ability to fight off VZV or keep this virus inactive. This vaccine is usually administered to children, but the immunity may decline in about 15-20 years. The single-dose vaccine dose is given to babies 12-18 months of age. Most vaccine side effects, if they occur, are mild and range from a rash, skin redness, and swelling to small chickenpox lesions, usually at the injection site. Boosters of this vaccine for use in adults are now being investigated and may help prevent shingles in the future.
Shingrix is the vaccine the CDC currently recommends as the preferred shingles vaccine. Two doses about 2-6 months apart are more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and PHN, and it is recommended for use in people 50 and over. Side effects of Shingrix may occur and last about 2-3 days and may include redness and swelling at the inoculation site. Some individuals may experience muscle pain, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, and nausea.
How Is Shingles Treated
Specific treatment for shingles will be determined by your healthcare provider based on:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- How long the shingles have been present
- Extent of the condition
- Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
There is no cure for shingles. It simply has to run its course. Treatment focuses on pain relief. Painkillers may help relieve some of the pain. Antiviral drugs may help lessen some of the symptoms and reduce nerve damage. Other treatments may include:
- Creams or lotions to help relieve itching
- Cool compresses applied to affected skin areas
- Antiviral medicines
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How Is Shingles Diagnosed
As with most other diseases, doctors will typically review your symptoms first. Be sure to take note of how long youve experienced symptoms, what your exact symptoms are, and their severity. Doctors may suspect internal shingles if your symptoms involve more than your skin. They will often suspect eye or nervous system involvement based on the location of the shingles rash. However, if you have a painful rash along with a cough, severe headache, or abdominal pain, you may have a more serious complication of shingles.
Doctors may perform the following tests to confirm your diagnosis of shingles:
- direct fluorescence antibody stain
About The Dermatologist: Sheryl D Clark Md Faad
With more than 25 years of experience, Dr. Clark is a highly skilled specialist for various dermatological concerns. Whether you want to treat a cosmetic or medical concern, she fully devotes herself to each treatment.
If you require a treatment that is outside of the ones we offer, she still works with you to find the best option for you. She can recommend you to surgeons or other experts who will be able to safely and effectively treat your condition. Her patients over profits approach means that her goal is for you to get the treatment you need in order to feel and look better.
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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.
What Are The Common Symptoms
Shingles symptoms might be difficult to detect in the early stages but there are some telltale signs, including:
- Pain, burning, numbness or tingling
- A red rash or stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or right side of your torso, or occurs around one eye, or on one side of the neck or face
- Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over within two to three weeks
Shingles symptoms vary in severity and some people can experience shingles pain without ever developing a rash, explains Dr. Danoff.
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Pain Management Located In Bowie Md Laurel Md & Salisbury Md
Nearly one in three Americans will have shingles during their lifetime, a condition that can cause intense pain. Akara Forsythe, MD, and Joseph Oppong, Jr., MD, are experienced pain management specialists with three convenient Innovative Pain Solutions Centers locations in Maryland. If youre suffering from shingles pain, schedule an appointment in Bowie or Salisbury, Maryland, by calling Innovative Pain Solutions Centers or booking online today.
Should I Have My Shingles Treated
For some patients, a shingles outbreak may be minor and hardly noticeable. However, in most cases, the symptoms can prove significantly painful and interrupt your daily life. If you want relief from symptoms, then your best option is to come visit our expert dermatologist and get a personalized treatment plan.
Seeking out treatment can also help prevent additional complications from the virus. For example, untreated shingles blisters can put you at risk for developing additional bacterial infections. That is why we recommend most patients seek shingles treatment as soon as they begin noticing the first signs, as mitigating symptoms early on is easier. If you suspect you are developing shingles, call us today to set up your first appointment with Dr. Clark.
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What Causes Internal Shingles
The varicella zoster virus causes shingles. Its the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a bout of chickenpox, the virus becomes dormant in the body and settles in certain nerves and tissue of the nervous system. Later in life, the virus can reactivate and present itself as shingles. Shingles typically appears on the skin along the nerve path where it had been previously dormant. If the reactivation of the virus becomes severe, it can affect not only the skin but other organs too. This is what is called systemic or internal shingles.
How Is Internal Shingles Treated
Even though shingles is a virus, this is a case where there are antiviral medications available by prescription. Thats why its important to see your doctor right away if you suspect you have shingles. Early treatment may reduce the risk of complications, like PHN. Serious complications require hospitalization.
Common antiviral medications for shingles include:
Depending on the location and severity of the shingles infection, steroids may also help. Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and pain-relieving medication such as acetaminophen or other prescription pain medication can help in easing pain experienced from shingles.
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Shingles Vaccine Can Prevent Shingles And Related Health Problems
A vaccine can reduce your risk of developing shingles and possible health problems that can follow.
Because shingles usually develops in people who are 50 or older, the CDC recommends that every healthy adult who is 50 years of age or older get the recombinant zoster vaccine .
In the clinical trials required to approve this vaccine, researchers found that it to be extremely effective. The Shingrix® vaccine reduced the risk of developing shingles by:
96.6% in people 50-59 years old
97.4% in people 60-69 years old
91.3% in people 70 or older 2
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Doctors Of Osteopathic Medicine
People may seek DO care because they want to work on overall wellness rather than treat a single condition. Individuals with shingles may choose a DO because they need help with a range of symptoms.
One technique that a DO might suggest for someone with shingles is known as myofascial release . This involves stretching and releasing different parts of the body to rebalance tissues.
Shingles can cause pain due to uncomfortable rashes. Balancing tissue function through myofascial release may provide relief in some cases.
A DO may also use:
- facilitated positional relief
- balanced ligamentous tension
- reciprocal inhibition
Shingles can cause pain and discomfort throughout the body. An experienced DO may be able to increase a persons comfort by restoring tissue balance and connectivity.
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How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Shingles
A dermatologist can often diagnose shingles by looking at the rash on your skin.
If there is any question about whether you have shingles, your dermatologist will scrape a bit of fluid from a blister. This will be sent to a lab where a doctor will look at the fluid under a high-powered microscope.
When you have shingles, the fluid contains the virus that causes shingles. Seeing the virus confirms that you have shingles.
Your dermatologist will also ask about your symptoms. Shingles tends to be painful.
When the shingles rash spreads to an eye, it can affect your eyesight
You can reduce this risk by seeing an ophthalmologist immediately.
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.
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What Will Shingles Do To My Cornea
If you do get shingles on your cornea, it may cause corneal inflammation or swelling. In some cases, it may be severe enough to leave permanent scars. This can lead to anything from blurred vision to permanent sight loss. If it does cause severe corneal scarring or thinning, you may need a cornea transplant.
Pcr Is The Most Useful Test
Laboratory testing may be useful in cases with less typical clinical presentations, such as in people with suppressed immune systems who may have disseminated herpes zoster . Polymerase chain reaction is the most useful test for confirming cases of suspected zoster sine herpete .
PCR can be used to detect VZV DNA rapidly and sensitively, and is now widely available. The ideal samples are swabs of unroofed vesicular lesions and scabs from crusted lesions you may also detect viral DNA in saliva during acute disease, but salvia samples are less reliable for herpes zoster than they are for varicella. Biopsy samples are also useful test samples in cases of disseminated disease. It is also possible to use PCR to distinguish between wild-type and vaccine strains of VZV.
Dermatology Clinic Located In San Juan Capistrano Ca
If youre over 50 and have a weakened immune system, you could be at risk of developing shingles, a painful skin condition caused by an underlying virus. Orange County patients and residents of San Juan Capistrano, California, rely on the expert dermatologists at HK Dermatology for prompt diagnosis and a revolutionary new treatment of acute shingles and postherpetic neuralgia . Acute Shingles is typically a very painful reddened rash, often with blisters that only affects one side or the body. If you suddenly develop a painful rash on your torso, call HK Dermatology and ask for an urgent appointment to see one of the skilled dermatologists.
When Should You Consult A Physician
If you notice a persistent pain or a widespread itchy rash on your body, Dr. Danoff recommends scheduling an immediate appointment with your physician.
For people over 60, its especially important to get medical care at the first sign of shingles.
For people over 60, it is especially important to get medical care at the first signs of shingles, as sometimes pain in the affected area can linger months to years following an outbreak if the nerves have been damaged, explains Dr. Danoff. Immediate care is also crucial in preventing possible complications, such as:
- Vision lossa possible result of eye infections caused by shingles in or around an eye
- Neurological problemse.g. inflammation of the brain, facial paralysis, or hearing/ balance problems
- Post-herpetic neuralgiaa painful condition that may result from shingles and last for many weeks or months, even after the rash has disappeared
- Skin infectionsoccur when shingles blisters arent properly treated
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Who Should Not Get Shingrix
You should not get Shingrix if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix.
- Currently have shingles.
- Currently are pregnant. Women who are pregnant should wait to get Shingrix.
If you have a minor illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe illness, with or without fever, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine.