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Shingles Disease, Symptoms, Treatment

Shingles is a very painful, blistering rash that is caused by the chickenpox virus. Shingles only affects a limited area of skin and you will feel very tired, run down and depressed.

The symptoms begin with the feeling of not feeling well and pain and tenderness in a localized area before you start seeing any type of rash. The rash itself begins as red spots which will very quickly blister. The rash will only appear on one side of your body and never along the mid-section. The reason this happens is that the rash appears on the area of skin which is supplied by one particular nerve.

Shingles can appear on any part of the body including the head, limbs, one side of the chest or abdomen, down an arm or leg. The rash may appear on the side of your face including your forehead and may cause problems with your eye on that side of your face.

Shingles are very very painful and it is almost unbearable to wear clothing. The blisters burst and crust over within about a week and then the rash will slowly disappear. Some scaring may remain. The pain usually goes away rather quickly but in some people the pain can go on for months and even years, which is called post herpetic neuralgia.

Many people are unable to work, because of the extreme fatigue, pain and depression that is associated with Shingles. It is best to get a three week leave from work if at all possible. This will give your body time to heal.

The cause of Shingles is chickenpox. People that get Shingles have previously had chickenpox. The chickenpox virus lies dormant in the nerves and shingles will occur when it is re-vitalized in one nerve to the skin. The reason for this is that you have a decrease in your body’s natural resistance. This decrease may come from other infections, stress, being run down, or even from some medications that affect the immune defenses.

When you visit your doctor he will more than likely not need to take any type of tests to confirm that you have shingles. He will be able to tell by examining the rash area. Sometimes, he may wish to perform some tests, but not normally.

The best treatment for Shingles is pain relief such as an analgesic. The best medication is an anti-inflammatory pain killer that is non-steroidal. Calamine lotion is great for soothing the area as well. You physician may prescribe an anti-viral agent which can be in cream form or tablets. These types of medications are especially prescribed for people whose eyes have been affected. Also, if the blisters become infected the doctor can prescribe an antibiotic in cream form or a medication taken by mouth.

There is nothing you can do to prevent Shingles. You can not catch Shingles from someone who has Shingles or Chickenpox. You can however, be contagious to anyone that has not had chickenpox when the rash is in the blister form and is oozing.

The major problem with Shingles is that it can occur over and over again. Any time the defenses of the body are lowered or the dormant virus is reactivated. When your body becomes run down you can have another occurrence of Shingles and it may not affect the same area of the body that it did the last time.

The best home remedies include:

Do nothing. Leave the blisters alone unless the rash is extreme. You can cause the healing process to take longer by irritating the skin by over using creams and ointments.

Use a calamine lotion for severe pain. It will help to sooth the area and give you some relief.

This is another great pain soother; add 20 percent isopropyl alcohol and 1 percent each of phenol and menthol to your calamine lotion. This can be applied as often as necessary until the blisters are dried and scabbed over and then stop using.

One more paste that can aid in soothing is using a chloroform and aspirin paste. Mash 2 aspirins into a powder and 2 tablespoons of chloroform and mix. Put the paste on the rash with a cotton ball. This can also be applied as often as needed. If you do not wish to try to create this paste you can speak with your pharmacist and he can mix it for you. This paste should give you relief in about 5 minutes and can last for hours.

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