Shingles actually stems from the virus varicella, which is also the base virus of the chicken pox. It is a painful and irritating rash that appears in several forms on any part of the body. The most common symptom is in the form of swelled stripes around the chest.
When a person contracts the chicken pox, the virus varicella gets into the body. However, the virus gets embedded in the deeper layers of the brain upon the cure of chicken pox. It can lie their dormant for years, reappearing later in life as shingles. The herpes zoster virus is looking for an opportunity when the immune system is weak, and as the age proceeds and immunity lessens, the virus finds its way into the body and activates itself. Though it does not cause any threat to the life of a person, shingles is a very painful condition.
Symptoms and Incidence
The signs and symptoms of HZ appear systematically, getting more severe with the passage of time. With shingles, there may be a contraction of normal diseases like the flu and headaches, or initial sensations of burning, pain, or numbness. The site has the appearance of a rash that causes itching, burning, or tingling, and the rash turns into blisters that swell and break. Commonly, the blisters appear on either side of a person’s trunk region.
Treatment of Shingles
When anyone suspects an occurrence of shingles, and has a medical history of chicken pox, that person should immediately consult the doctor for treatment. Although shingles is very painful, the site of occurrence determines the type and intensity of the treatment given. If the patient is above the age of 50 years, or has a weakened immune system, immediate treatment is required to stop the rash from spreading and causing increased amounts of pain.
Shingles is normally treated with medicines, both oral and external prescriptions. These are used in order to treat the painful condition, to curtail the pain, and to stop the spreading of the disease. Antiviral medications also help the immune system to get stronger, which will eventually aid the system in fighting and curing the disease.
However, topical prescriptions can alleviate shingles faster, especially when used along with the other treatments. Topical medicines need to be applied directly on the skin, and they are well suited for shingles, as they relieve pain from the rashes and blisters. HZ rashes and blisters are quite painful, and the other treatments aid the immune system in the recovery process. Additionally, topical agents are specialized in effective and instant pain relief, so you will immediately get pain relief. By using the topical agents, along with oral medicines, a patient can manage their pain while fighting the root cause.
Insigna, R.P., Itzler, R.F., Pellissier, J.M., et al. (2005). The Incidence of Herpes Zoster in a United States Administrative Database. J Gen Intern Med, 20(8), 748 – 753. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1490195/