Shingles is a viral disease which can be identified by the painful rashes that tend to form on the skin that blister over time. This skin abnormality is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox.
Weak immune systems can lead to severe shingles since the body will not be capable of producing antibodies which are necessary to fight and ward off the virus. It is a known fact that one in three people in the country have a high chance of developing this condition, with estimated cases of shingles rising above a million diagnosed and treated this year.
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One of the major causes of shingles is VZV virus which stays dormant in the system after a person has suffered an episode of chickenpox. Even if the cause is known, medical science has not been able to find out what provokes the dormant virus which results in a person getting shingles.
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Signs and symptoms of shingles include:
- Headaches, fever, and general discomfort may not be accurate indicators of a developing shingles condition. However, it is important to look out for signs of burning pain, itching, oversensitivity of the skin in any particular area, a tingling, prickly feeling are all common signs and symptoms of shingles being imminent.
- Age is a big factor that affects the severity of the condition, which is why even if children develop the condition, the signs and symptoms of shingles are not that easy to notice. The condition will worsen over time as they age, which is why symptoms are prominent and noticeable in adults mostly.
- The rashes which appear shortly after a person has contracted shingles also include the formation of blisters over the course of one week which then scab, thereby causing pain, itching, redness, and tingling sensations in the affected area.
- One of the major signs and symptoms of shingles include developing signs of the rash in a straight stripe line instead of rashes developing all over the body at random intervals. The rash may develop on just one side of the face, shoulder, or even your eye causing vision loss which is a cause for concern.
- A poor immune system will be mainly responsible for aggravated signs and symptoms of shingles, especially disseminated shingles. These include skin lesions that appear outside the normal affected area. This condition may also result in advanced medical conditions like hepatitis or encephalitis, similar to problems caused due to a severe case of chickenpox.
- Treatment options will entirely depend on the severity of the situation, which is why a number of combinations are recommended for providing long-term relief from the various signs and symptoms of shingles.
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The treatment options for shingles commonly include the following:
Over-the-counter pain medications, topical creams, and solutions which fall under the category of analgesic medications is one of the treatment options.
Antiviral drugs are essentially helpful in reducing the pain and duration of shingles. The severity of the condition will determine how effective antiviral medications will be to provide long-term relief.
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Corticosteroids: Although corticosteroids do not necessarily provide long-term relief, the side effects of the steroids are still minimal compared to other forms of medications.