What is shingles?
Shingles is a painful rash caused by the Varicella zostervirus (Herpes varicellae), which is the virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles occurs in people who have had chickenpox and is a reactivation of the dormant virus. Shingles often occurs long after the initial chickenpox infection maybe years. Shingles is contagious and may itself cause chickenpox. However, contact with a person with shingles or chickenpox cannot cause shingles.
The causes shingles
After the chickenpox virus has been contracted, it travels from the skin along the nerve paths to the roots of the nerves where it becomes inactive. The chickenpox virus then 'hibernates'. When the virus is reactivated, it travels via the nerve paths to the skin. It is not known what factors trigger a reactivation of the virus. Shingles generally affects the elderly, but occasionally occurs in children who have had chickenpox within the first year of their lives and in people with an immune deficiency.
Shingles can be a sign of immunodeficiency, caused by HIV or chemotherapy, stress, long time after sickness for example, but most people who get shingles have a normal immune system.
What are the symptoms?
The first sign that a reactivation of the chickenpox virus is taking place is a burning sensation on the nerve paths along which the virus is traveling. Nerve paths typically form half-circles around the body. The pain and subsequent rash correspond to the position of the nerve paths and are almost always on one side of the body or face or limbs only, but more common in the trunk body .The rash is typically accompanied by a fever and enlarged lymph nodes.
Two to three days after the pain has begun, a typical rash appears: small blisters on red, swollen skin. It resembles the type that is seen during an attack of chickenpox but covers a smaller area.
The rash usually reaches its peak after three to five days. Then, the blisters burst and turn into sores, which gradually scab over. The scabs fall off after two to three weeks.
People who have never had chickenpox can reduce the risk of getting the virus by avoiding contact with people with chickenpox and shingles. Shingles itself is not preventable.
The patient's medical history in combination with the appearance of the rash will usually be sufficient for making a diagnosis. If necessary, a scrape from the blisters can help identify the virus. A blood sample can also be used to confirm the initial diagnosis.
What happens if it gets worse?
Bacteria can infect the rash.
Shingles is rarely serious. In about 90 per cent of patients, the attack normally subsides within a week after the appearance of the first symptoms if it gets treated immediately. Otherwise they may suffer for months. Most people only have one or two attacks.
What can be done at home?
What is the treatment?
Although antiviral medicines can be used, they must be started as soon as possible when the burning sensation begins. Once the rash has been present for more than 48 hours, treatment will be of reduced value usually not much relief. The medicine can reduce the duration of the attack and prevent it spreading.
If simple analgesics have not been effective, you have to take some Chinese Master's ancient prescription.
Modern medicine usually does not work in these serious conditions. This condition can usually be treated by 1 week if started with Chinese Master KL herbs immediately; otherwise it may drake for a few weeks. But not to worry it can be cure in no time!