A Word About The Shingles Vaccine
If you are age 60 or over and have not had shingles, talk to your doctor about getting the shingles vaccine. Not only will it reduce your risk of developing shingles, but if you do develop shingles, youll be more likely to have a mild case. And, just as important, youll be much less likely to develop PHN if youve had the vaccine.
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.
Body Pain When Sneezing
Sneezing looks like such a benign pain, however anybody who has ever had painful sneezing will inform you that its anything however. Sneezing is a natural response of your body against bacteria and viruses. Anything that enters your nose may set off the bodys reflex to sneeze, which forces whatever entered to leave the nose often through a violent sneeze.
A sneeze is a procedure that consists of many actions. An inflammation to the nose signals your throat, eyes and mouth to shut. Then the chest muscles agreement and throat muscles unwind. Air is displaced of your mouth and nose to clear the passage. So if its a natural occasion, why does my body hurt when I sneeze?
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Risk Factors For Nerve Pain After Shingles
Researchers have long known that older people are more likely to get PHN, the nerve pain after shingles, but recent studies have found other factors that increase risks.
In one study published in the journal Neurology, researchers — including Dworkin — looked at data from 965 people with shingles. The researchers identified five risk factors for developing PHN in people who had been recently diagnosed with shingles:
- Presence of symptoms before the rash appeared, like numbness, tingling, itching, or pain
- Severe pain during the illness’s initial stages
Importantly, the researchers found the more risk factors you have, the greater the risk of developing PHN.
For instance, 17% of women with shingles and 26% of those who had severe pain went on to get PHN. But 50% of women who were over age 60 and had symptoms before the rash, severe rash, and acute pain went on to get PHN.
Shingles Symptoms And Treatment Options
Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash, usually in a stripe pattern around one side of your chest or back. This infection is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causeschickenpox. Over 95% of people are infected, with the virus remaining silent inside their nerve cells. An estimated one in three people may eventually develop shingles in their lifetime, when the virus becomes active again.
Shingles is common in people whose immune systems are weakened by stress, a disease, or advanced age. Ideally, these people receive booster vaccinations in order to minimize the risk for shingles. However, a vaccine does not always prevent outbreaks.
If prevention of shingles through vaccination is not possible, early treatment is your next best option. Your primary care or emergency room doctor is likely to start treatment with antiviral medications and light analgesics. However, this may not adequately control your pain. You will benefit by continuing your treatments with a pain specialist. A pain specialist can treat postherpetic neuralgia, a common and disabling type of pain that can last for months after a shingles outbreak.
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What Is Shingles And Postherpetic Neuralgia
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that also causes chickenpox. In a person who has been exposed to chickenpox — or its vaccine — the virus never really goes away. It can lie dormant in the body’s nerves.
In most cases, it stays that way. But in some — especially people with immune systems weakened by disease or treatment — the virus can reappear. This is likely to happen years or decades after the person had chickenpox.
When it comes back, the virus can cause shingles, a rash that often appears as a band on one side of the body. Early shingles symptoms can include:
- Flu-like symptoms
Are you contagious? Though people who haven’t had chickenpox can catch that condition from you, the shingles itself isn’t contagious.
For reasons that experts don’t really understand, the pain of shingles lingers for some. If the pain lasts for at least 3 months after the shingles rash has healed, a person is diagnosed with PHN. In some people, the pain will subside. In others, it won’t.
“We don’t have any idea why the pain goes away in some people and not others,” says Dworkin. But the longer you have PHN — especially after a year — the less likely it is to resolve, he says.
Lasting Pain After Shingles
Pain that continues for a long time after a shingles rash has disappeared is called post-herpetic neuralgia. This is the most common complication of shingles. Its still not clear how it can be prevented or what the best treatment is.
Shingles typically causes a rash accompanied by pain in the affected area. The pain normally goes away when the rash goes away. This usually happens after two to four weeks. Pain that continues for longer is referred to as post-herpetic neuralgia. The word post-herpetic means post-herpes because the pain arises after infection by the herpes zoster virus. In very rare cases pain can come back after a shingles infection, even if it had already gone away and the rash has disappeared.
The main symptom of post-herpetic neuralgia is pain in the nerves . The skin is often overly sensitive and itchy as well. This can make it difficult or painful to wash yourself, turn over in bed, or hug someone. The pain and itching can be very severe and might keep you from sleeping.
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Can Postherpetic Neuralgia Be Prevented
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a shingles vaccine, which can reduce your chance of getting shingles and PHN. The recombinant herpes-zoster vaccine is recommended to prevent shingles in adults ages 50 and older. The vaccination is given in two doses, two to six months apart. The two-dose vaccine is 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Protection lasts at least for four years after you get vaccinated.
If you have never had chickenpox or have children who have never had chickenpox, getting the chickenpox vaccine can help prevent getting this infection in the first place. If you never get chickenpox, you will not have the varicella-zoster virus in your body and will not get shingles or PHN.
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A Decrease In Quality Of Life In People With Shingles
A 2010 Canadian study looked at the impact of herpes zoster on peoples quality of life. It followed 261 persons with shingles, aged 50 years or older, over a period of six months. The study found that pain interfered with sleep in 64% of the participants it interfered with the enjoyment of life in 58% of the participants and prevented general activities in 53%. Pain usually lasted 32 days.
However, the pain lasted much longer in people who developed postherpetic neuralgia. This is a severe, burning pain that affected one in four people with shingles. In fact, the largest changes in the enjoyment of life, mood, and sleep were seen in people who suffered from postherpetic neuralgia.
The study supported a need for early treatment of herpes zoster and adequate pain control in people with postherpetic neuralgia.
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Not A Fan Of Compresses Try This
If pain is too intense to apply a compress, dont worry. You can still use cool methods to help.
One further option in the vein of a cold compress is to take a cold bath. Then, apply some lotion or ointment to the afflicted area. This strategy will help in two ways. Firstly, the cold bath will cool down the skin. Then, the lotion will help to keep the skin nice and moist, helping to prevent irritation.
Dont like cold baths or compresses? Keep reading. The next home remedy is a tasty solution to shingles discomfort
How Can I Make The Neuropathic Pain Go Away
Neuropathic pain occurs biochemically, making it a very fluid system that can often be quickly modified, resulting in pain relief. Many different chemicals in your body may be involved in your pain, and therefore it is worth trying different types of medications to see which ones work best in your case.
For many, treating the nutritional and thyroid deficiencies and eliminating the muscle spasms, which are compressing your nerves, may be enough to eliminate your pain. Others may need to take medications to suppress the pain while we look for ways to eliminate the underlying cause.
The best way to tell which chemicals are involved in your nerve pain is to simply try different medications to see what eases your pain. Basically, it is like trying on different shoes to see what fits best. The good news is that we have a large assortment of shoes that you can try on and that are likely to help you.
It is, of course, critical to begin by eliminating the underlying causes of neuropathy and giving the nerves what they need to heal. This includes the nutritional support weve discussed. In addition, the involvement of free radicals in nerve excitation was found in 1995, supporting the use of antioxidants in nerve pain. Since that time, the antioxidant lipoic acid has been shown to be helpful in diabetic neuropathy and should be tried in other neuropathies as well. You will be amazed at how much benefit you may get over time simply from optimizing nutritional support.
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The Emotional Toll Of Nerve Pain After Shingles
Researchers are not just looking at biological and neurological risk factors for PHN. Dworkin was also a co-author of a study looking at psychological risk factors, too. The results were published in the Journal of Pain in 2005.
“It certainly looks like psychological stress can be a potent risk factor for PHN,” Dworkin tells WebMD.
The study showed that people with shingles who went on to develop PHN were more likely to have had symptoms of personality disorders, hypochondria, intense worry about their disease, and other bodily complaints.
Dworkin says previous studies have already shown a connection between stress and shingles development.
“One study even found that the risk of developing PHN was higher in people who were living alone when they developed shingles than people living with others,” Dworkin says, perhaps indicating that social isolation increases the risks of PHN.
What Is The Outcome For Someone Who Has Shingles
Most people get shingles once, but its possible to get it again.
If you have a healthy immune system, the blisters tend to clear in 7 to 10 days. The rash tends to go away completely within 2 to 4 weeks. The pain may last longer, but usually stops in 1 or 2 months.
For some people, the pain will last longer than the rash. When it does, its called postherpetic neuralgia , which can come and go or be constant. PHN can last for months, years, or the rest of your life. Treatment can help reduce the amount of pain you feel.
Be sure to tell your doctor if you continue to have pain. Treatment can help you feel more comfortable.
For anyone who has a shingles rash, the right self-care can help ease your discomfort. Youll find out what dermatologists recommend at, Shingles: Self-care.
ReferencesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention . About shingles. Page last reviewed 10/17/2017. Last accessed 4/1/2019.
Dooling KL, Guo A, et al. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018 67:103-8.
Madkan V, Sra K, et al. Human herpes viruses. In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. . Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008: 1204-8.
Straus SE, Oxman MN. Varicella and herpes zoster. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008: 1885-98.
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Can I Give Shingles To Others
No one can catch shingles from you. But the virus can be spread to a person who has never had chickenpox. The virus lives in the blisters that shingles causes. It can be spread until the blisters are completely healed. If you have blisters that have not crusted over yet, you should stay away from:
- Anyone who has never had chickenpox
- Babies under 12 months old
- Very sick people
Tell your doctor if you live with children who have not had chickenpox. They may need to be vaccinated.
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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If You Have Shingles Symptoms Get Treatment Now And You May Avoid Permanent Nerve Pain
Shingles, a viral infection of the nerve roots, affects 1 million people in the U.S each year. Most people recover from their bout, but for as many as 50% of those over age 60 who have not been treated, the pain doesn’t go away. It can last for months, years, or even the rest of their lives.
These people have what’s called postherpetic neuralgia , the result of the shingles virus damaging the nerves of the skin. In some cases, the pain is mild. In others, even the slightest touch — from clothing or even a breeze — can be excruciating.
“PHN causes a great deal of suffering and high social costs,” says Robert H. Dworkin, PhD, a professor in the department of anesthesiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y. “It can severely disrupt people’s lives.”
But the good news is that there are drugs that can help treat and even prevent PHN, and doctors are learning more about who is at greatest risk of developing this debilitating condition.
Why Do We Need A Shingles Shot
As you might remember from your childhood, the rash from chickenpox is itchy but usually doesnt hurt. In most cases, chickenpox is a mild illness that doesnt cause long-term problems.
After you got over a case of chickenpox, the virus stays in your body but goes dormant, meaning its not active. However, it can reactivate later in your life. If it does, youll get shingles.
Unlike chickenpox, a shingles rash can be extremely painful. Fever, headache, fatigue, and sensitivity to light are also common shingles symptoms.
There are also potentially serious health consequences of the infection. For example, if you get a shingles rash close to your eye, it can affect your vision and potentially cause blindness.A case of shingles generally lasts between two and six weeks. The pain usually goes away when the rash does, but some people have pain that lingers for months or even years .
Shingles can be treated with antiviral medications such as acyclovir or valacyclovir, which reduce the length of the outbreak. However, anyone who has had shingles will likely tell you to do whatever you can to avoid getting it in the first place. Thats where Shingrix comes in.
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Natural Remedies For Shingles
If you had chickenpox as a child, the shingles virus lies dormant in your body. The virus can reactivate later in life and cause a shingles rash. The rash can occur on any part of your body but typically only affects small sections.
Pain is usually the first symptom of shingles. The rash and fluid-filled blisters form within a couple of days after the onset of pain. Some people with shingles also have a fever, sensitivity to light, and fatigue.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about 1 in 3 people in the United States will develop shingles at some point in their lifetime.
The shingles virus can last between two and six weeks. Shingles isnt life-threatening, but some people experience postherpetic neuralgia. This is when nerve fibers become damaged, causing shingles pain that lasts for weeks or months after the rash clears.
Theres no cure for shingles, but your doctor can prescribe antiviral medication to help shorten the duration of the virus and reduce symptoms.
Although an antiviral is an effective treatment for shingles, its not the only option. Several natural remedies may also reduce pain and discomfort.
Dry your body completely and then wash your towel to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- orange and yellow fruits