What You Need To Know About Shingles

Like & Follow Us On Facebook!

Med Page Today

Shingles, also called herpes zoster, zoster, or zona, is a viral infection characterized by a painful, blistering skin rash that affects one side of your body, typically your torso or face. It is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles can occur on any part of your body, but it often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around the right or left side of your torso. Shingles can also erupt on your eye, mouth, ear, head, arm, or thigh.
Every year, there are approximately one million new cases of shingles in the United States alone. Almost one out of every three people develop shingles at some point in their lifetime, and while most individuals who get shingles only have a single episode, some have recurrent cases of shingles. Shingles is more common in older adults and in people with compromised immune systems. It is not a life-threatening condition, but it can be extremely painful, and rarely, may lead to more serious complications. Vaccines can help decrease your risk of developing shingles, and early treatment can help shorten the duration of the virus, reduce symptoms, and lessen the chance of complications.
Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about shingles, from common symptoms to causes and prevention.

Common Symptoms Of Shingles

Shingles usually affects a small section of one side of your body, often appearing on your abdomen, chest, ribcage, waist, or back. Symptoms can also appear on your face, generally on your eye, ear, or mouth. In some cases, the virus can affect your internal organs. Signs and symptoms may include a tingling, itching, or stinging sensation that precedes the appearance of a rash, a deep, burning, and stabbing pain on one side of your body, a red rash that erupts a few days after the pain, itching and skin sensitivity in the outbreak area, and fluid-filled blisters that break open, ooze, and form a crust.
Shingles affects a dorsal root ganglion, also called a posterior root ganglion or spinal ganglion, which is a cluster of sensory neurons in a spinal nerve. The pain you experience results from nerve involvement and not the rash itself. In fact, some people experience pain without the rash. Other individuals may have pain and a rash accompanied by other symptoms, such as headaches, body aches, fever and chills, nausea, fatigue, a general feeling of discomfort or restlessness, an upset stomach, swollen lymph glands, and photophobia or sensitivity to bright light.