Shingles is a painful skin rash. It is caused by the chickenpox virus.
Shingles usually appears in the form of a band or small area on one side of the face or body along a neuromere - aesthetic nerve.
Shingles is more common in older adults (> 65 years) and in people with weakened immune systems (due to injuries, stress, certain medications, surgery or aging or other reasons).
Most people get shingles only once in their lifetime, but it is possible, although rare, for a virus that lives parasitically in the body to occur more than once.
It is not clear how and why this happens, but when the virus becomes active again, it can only cause shingles and not chickenpox.
Shingles does not spread from someone who has it, but there is a small chance that a person with shingles rash will spread the virus to another person who has not had chickenpox or been vaccinated.
At first you may have a headache or photosensitivity. You may also feel like you have the flu, but no fever, itching, burning or even pain in a specific area.
This is where a band, or small area of a rash, may appear a few days later.
The rash changes over time and turns into a complex of pustules.
The pustules fill with fluid and then form a crust. It takes 2-4 weeks for the pustules to subside and can leave scars as well as pain for quite some time called postherpetic neuralgia.
The treatment of shingles should be treated no later than 72 hours after diagnosis
Antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, brivudine and famciclovir, can reduce the duration of skin rashes and pain as well as the faster remission of the disease.
Painkillers are often necessary, as the level of pain is very high in many people. The pain is often so great that in many cases patients do not tolerate even a single piece of clothing touching the area of the skin with a rash.
Postherpetic neuralgia may require additional medications such as opioids to control pain. Some patients do not respond to common pain treatments and may need to be referred to a pain clinic.
Topical or systemic corticosteroids are sometimes used to reduce inflammation and pain, but should only be used under medical supervision, as in some patients the infection may be aggravated by the use of corticosteroids. Topical medications can be used to soothe the area or prevent infection.