Shingles, or herpes zoster, is an infection in the nerve roots. It causes pain and rashes on one side of the body. The rash appears in a band, strip, or a small area. Shingles is most common in older adults with a weak immune system or stressful lives. Most people who get shingles will not get it again.
It Starts Off As Chickenpox…
Yes, the shingles virus is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you get chickenpox (probably as a child), that virus becomes dormant in your nerve roots. In rare instances, the virus will be active when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune system. Shingles are not contagious, but a person who has shingles can spread chickenpox to another person who hasn’t had chickenpox.
What Are The Symptoms?
First, you may have a headache or feel like you have the flu. Later, you may feel itching, tingling, or pain. A few days later, a rash will occur. The rash then turns into clusters of blisters. The blisters will be filled with fluid and then crust over. It takes 2 to 4 weeks for the blisters to heal, and they may scar. However, only some people will get a rash while some may not get any at all.
Is There A Cure?
Unfortunately, no. But there is treatment may help the healing process. You should call your doctor as soon as you think you may have shingles. The sooner you start treatment, the better:
- Antiviral medicine
- Over-the-counter pain medicine
- Skin creams
It is recommended that you avoid contact with people until the rash heals because of possibly spreading chickenpox. If you haven’t had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, it is best to avoid a person who has shingles.