Getting an Awareness of Shingles Signs and the Disease

by Trevor Price

Posted on Saturday 22nd of November 2008

Shingles disease is often known as Zoster or Herpes zoster. It's a condition in which painful blisters develop and show up on the skin. The root cause is the same virus that results in chicken pox. This virus is the "varicella zoster virus" or VZV. If you've had chicken pox as a child, then you are at a higher risk for developing shingles later in life.

This is because when a child contracts the chicken pox, he or she is left with a trace amount of varicella zoster virus. This virus lingers in the body for years until the immune system is ravaged by an autoimmune disorder, an immune deficiency, or the basic effects of aging. At that point, there is a stronger likelihood that VZV will return as shingles.

To find out more about the Shingles disorder, including how to identify the symptoms of the disease and prevent its spread, read on.

Shingles Symptoms and Signs

Common symptoms associated with Shingles includes a fever that generally lasts about four to five days. This may be accompanied by a headache. Patients will also experience a marked decline in their energy levels and possible digestive problems. Additionally, chills can accompany the aches and pains. Other than the itching and the rash and blisters that will eventually develop, the symptoms are very similar to the flu.

Eventually, the patient will develop small and painful blisters on the skin. These will usually extend from the spine to the chest and are the most common and visible symptom of the malaise.

Why It's Important to Treat Shingles

Shingles and the VZV can directly affect the nervous system leading to issues and other medical problems throughout the body. It's critical to seek treatment swiftly before the disease progresses.

People at Risk for Developing Shingles

The people who have the highest risk levels for developing Shingles are those who had chicken pox as children. Primarily, the disease affects those over the age of 50 and is especially prevalent in persons suffering from any other condition that damages the immune system (like AIDS or cancer). Also, it can impact anyone taking immunosuppressive drugs.

Tips for Living With and Treating Shingles

Shingles are often contagious, so precautions should be taken to protect family members and others in close contact with the patient. When sores or blisters are present, they should be covered at all times, and bedding and clothing should be washed separately.

Another tip to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with Shingles disease is to avoid exposure to direct sunlight and try to stay in a cool, dry room as much as possible. Also, avoid scratching the rash. Finally, the best thing you can do is to strictly follow the regimen assigned to you by your doctor.

Shingles is not a disease to take lightly. If you or a loved one begins to show symptoms similar to those described above, you should take the time to have them diagnosed by a trusted physician and then avoid circumstances that make you less comfortable.

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