Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Where Does Shingles Appear On The Body

What Are Eye Shingles

What is Shingles?

Eye shingles is a painful rash of the skin around the eye. It typically affects the forehead and skin of the upper lid. It also can affect the side or tip of the nose. If not quickly daignosed and treated, shingles in the eye can cause permanent damage to your vision.

Shingles on the face and eye is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles can be limited to the area around your eye or it can cause a painful red rash elsewhere on your body.

Over the past six decades, cases of shingles have been on the rise.

The number of cases of eye shingles in the United States tripled from 2004 to 2016, according to University of Michigans Kellogg Eye Center.

Researchers found that people over age 75 have the greatest risk. Whites and women also present with a higher incidence of eye shingles.

What explains this increase? Weakening of the immune system from chronic diseases and stress are factors.

Dr. Christopher Rapuano, MD, chief of Cornea Service at Wills Eye Hospital, one of the top U.S. ophthalmic specialty hospitals, says few Americans are getting vaccinated for shingles, which is the best way to avoid the disease and protect your eyes.

Shingles can cause bad things to happen to the eyes, and some of those things can happen even with good treatment, he says.

Week Three: More Blisters

If your blisters persist for more than two weeks, this is a red flag that your immune system is not functioning as it should. You should visit your healthcare professional again. And remember, if your blisters appear on your face at any time, quickly see a healthcare professional. Just like the rash, when blisters develop near or in the eye or the ear, it can cause lasting damage, such as hearing loss, blindness, facial paralysis and brain swelling, according to The National Institute on Aging.

Month Two To Three: Lingering Itch

The lasting itch one can experience once the shingles rash clears is called postherpetic itch and it most commonly develops on the face and on skin thats already suffered sensory loss. Translations: Your skin is likely already feeling numb there. And since individuals are more likely to scratch numb skin too long and too vigorously, its important to turn to your healthcare provider for advice. He or she will likely suggest topical local anesthetics to help quell the urge to itch.

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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.

Why Does Shingles Appear Mostly On One Side Or In One Area Of The Body

Shingles: A Serious and Painful Disease

The virus travels in specific nerves, so you will often see shingles occur in a band on one side of the body. This band corresponds to the area where the nerve transmits signals. The shingles rash stays somewhat localized to an area it does not spread over your whole body. The torso is a common area, as is the face.

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How Is Herpes Zoster Diagnosed

Doctors diagnose shingles through a physical clinical exam. They may take a skin sample to test further if the causative factors remain unknown. However, if you have another type of herpes virus, the test will read positive.

Shingles on the face can lead to various eye compilations, including glaucoma and blindness. That makes it important to seek medical intervention from an ophthalmologist if you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms.

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What Is Shingles What Does Shingles Look Like

Shingle is a disease characterized by a painful, blistering skin rash that affects one side of the body, typically the face or torso. This condition may also be referred to as herpes zoster, zoster, or zona. The word shingles comes from the Latin word cingulum, which means belt. There are approximately 1 million estimated new cases per year in the U.S., with almost one out of every three people developing shingles at some point in their lifetime. Though most people who develop shingles will only have a single episode, there are some who develop recurrent cases of shingles. Shingles are more common in older individuals and in those with weakened immune systems.

The characteristic rash of shingles typically appears after an initial period of burning, tingling, itching, or stinging in the affected area. After a few days, the rash then appears in a stripe or band-like pattern along a nerve path , affecting only one side of the body without crossing the midline. The rash erupts as clusters of small red patches that develop into blisters, which may appear similar to chickenpox. The blisters then break open and slowly begin to dry and eventually crust over.

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Can You Still Develop Shingles If Youve Been Vaccinated For Chickenpox

Yes. Despite being vaccinated for chickenpox, you can still get shingles. No vaccine is 100% protective, and the effectiveness of vaccines lessens with time. However, people who get the chickenpox vaccine are significantly less likely to develop shingles later in life compared with people who never received the chickenpox vaccine. One recent 12-year study found that the number of shingles cases was 72% lower in children who had received the chickenpox vaccine compared with those who didnt.

Antiviral Medicines For Shingles

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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.

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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.

Can Eye Shingles Cause Blindness

Even with proper treatment, some eye shingles patients still develop eye disorders such as corneal scarring, glaucoma or retinal disease.

For example, eye shingles can cause:

  • A corneal dendrite which may lead to a scar

In the most severe cases of eye shingles, a patient may need a corneal transplant.

Eye shingles is not contagious. It cannot be spread to another person.

However, a person who has shingles-related rash anywhere on their body can transmit chickenpox virus to someone who hasnt already had chickenpox or been vaccinated for the condition.

Read Also: When Do Shingles Go Away

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.

Steroid Medication For Shingles

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Steroids help to reduce swelling . A short course of steroid tablets may be considered in addition to antiviral medication. This may help to reduce pain and speed healing of the rash. However, the use of steroids in shingles is controversial. Your doctor will advise you. Steroids do not prevent PHN.

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What Does Shingles On The Face Look Like

Shingles usually starts as a painful, tingling, itching, or numb sensation in the affected area of skin.

A rash may later develop and eventually produce painful blisters. The rash may have a flushed color or appearance.

Blisters from shingles, which may ooze, typically contain fluid. Blisters that form can burst and become open sores or dry out and form scabs.

The rash may appear on just one site or in several places, and it may appear on only one side of the face.

However, the appearance of a shingles rash may vary from what is typical depending on the individual.

Shingles: Not Just A Band Of Blisters

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Shingles is a common condition caused by the chickenpox virus . Not everyone who’s had chickenpox will develop shingles. However, after years of lying dormant in nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain, the virus can reactivate in some people. As it becomes active again, the virus causes pain, tingling and, eventually, a rash of blisters that doesn’t last long.

The reason for shingles is unclear. But it may be due to lowered immunity to infections as you grow older.

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Eye Shingles Diagnosis And Treatment

Your doctor can diagnose shingles by observing the rash on your face or eyes. They might take a fluid sample from the blister to test for the varicella-zoster virus.

Doctors will also examine the following parts for the presence of swelling, inflammation, or damage:

  • Other parts of your eye, including the eyelid, the optic nerve, etc.

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Can You Get Shingles If You Havent Had Chickenpox

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No. You cant get shingles if youve never had chickenpox, but you can get chickenpox from someone who has shingles. If youve never had chickenpox and you come into direct contact with the oozing, blister-like rash of someone with shingles, the varicella-zoster virus can infect you and you would develop chickenpox.

Once youve had chickenpox, you could develop shingles at some point in your life. This is because the varicella-zoster virus never fully goes away after youve had chickenpox. It lies quietly inactive in your nerve tissue. Later in life, the virus may become active again and appears as shingles.

Can you get chickenpox more than once?

Its rare to get chickenpox twice in your life. Once youve had chickenpox, youre usually immune to it for the rest of your life. However, its not totally impossible. If you have a severely weakened immune system , you can get chickenpox a second time. If youve had chickenpox, you are more likely to get shingles at some point in your life than a repeat bout of chickenpox.

Read Also: How To Stop Itching And Burning From Shingles

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.

Is Shingles Contagious

Someone with shingles cant spread shingles to another person, but they can spread chickenpox. The varicella-zoster virus is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with the fluid that oozes from the blisters. Shingles is rarely spread by breathing in the varicella-zoster virus the way airborne viruses are spread. If your rash is in the blister phase, stay away from those who havent had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine and keep your rash covered.

Also Check: Can Shingles Appear Anywhere On The Body

S Of The Shingles Rash

If you have a rash of blisters on your skin or a rash that looks like any shown below, see your doctor immediately for a diagnosis. If you have shingles, its important to get treatment, preferably within 2 to 3 days.

If youve had the rash for longer than 2 to 3 days, its still important to see your doctor.

A typical shingles rash

Doctors often refer to this rash as the shingles band because it looks like a band that appears on one area of your body, as shown here.

A rash on one side of the body

A key that you have shingles is that the rash only develops on one side of your body.

Close-up of a shingles rash

The shingles rash often causes a cluster of tiny blisters. You may notice that the skin beneath the blisters is red and inflamed, as shown here.

The rash will also feel painful.

Blistering shingles rash on a man’s chest

Although the rash can begin in one area, you may notice that a few scattered blisters develop in other areas, as shown here.

Shingles rash on the palm of a man’s hand

While shingles tends to develop on your body or face, it can appear anywhere on your skin.

Shingles Or Something Else

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Small blisters that appear only on the lips or around the mouth may be cold sores, sometimes called fever blisters. Theyre 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 arent sure whats causing your rash, see your healthcare provider.

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Year Five: Chronic Or Recurrent Eye Disease

When shingles impacts the eyes its called herpes zoster ophthalmicus, or HZO. And according to a report in the journal Ophthalmology, 25% of patients experience chronic or recurrent eye disease within five years of HZO. Although most patients with HZO do not experience recurrence, it is important for patients to remain vigilant for recurrences due to potential for long-term damage to their eyes, says Dr. Shekhawat. Recurrent HZO can cause severe dry eye, corneal nerve damage and inflammation and scarring on the inside of the eye, which can damage vision and cause elevation of intraocular pressure leading to glaucoma, says Dr. Shekhawat.

Shingles In Eyes Pictures

With shingles in eye, most people will have a blistering rash form on eyelids, forehead and in some cases on the tip and side of the nose. The rash can appear the same time as the blister or after the blisters have gone away.

Shingles will often be accompanied by other symptoms such as redness around eye, watery eyes, and in some cases blurry vision. Here are some pictures of how eye shingles will look like.

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How Long Does Shingles Last

Shingles blisters usually scab over in 7-10 days and disappear completely in two to four weeks. In most healthy people, the blisters leave no scars, and the pain and itching go away after a few weeks or months. But people with weakened immune systems may develop shingles blisters that do not heal in a timely manner.

What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles

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Shingles often starts with a burning, tingling, or painful sensation along one side of the torso or head. Within one to five days, a rash will appear. Within a few days, the rash will turn into fluid-filled blisters. The blisters will start to dry up about a week later, and will begin to disappear over the next several weeks. Some people only experience mild itching, but others have intense pain.

If you think you may have shingles, see your doctor as soon as possible, especially if you see blisters on your face or near your eye. Shingles can cause hearing or vision loss, especially if you dont get treatment for it.

No matter where your rash appears, you should seek medical treatment quickly. Your doctor can make a diagnosis and prescribe treatments to help the blisters dry up and heal. This can reduce the duration of the outbreak and your discomfort.

No cure is available for shingles, but most people who have an outbreak get it only once.

Doing the following at home may help you to feel more comfortable:

  • Get lots of rest.
  • Use cool washcloths on your rash.
  • Take oatmeal baths.
  • Keep your stress to a minimum.

You should keep the rash covered and wash your hands often to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. Shingles isnt contagious, but you can give someone chickenpox while you have it.

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