Shingles is also known as herpes zoster, which is a virus causing infection in the body. This virus is also responsible for causing chicken pox in the body. Once a person is infected with chickenpox, this virus enters the body and remains hidden. This virus when reactivates itself due to numerous reasons like poor immunity, advanced age, prolonged illness, excessive exposure to radiation etc. causes rash of the skin which is very painful.
Shingles rarely affects children under the age of ten years.Shingles is not contagious and even if a person comes in contact with the shingles patient, then he/she will only develop chickenpox. Hence the best way to avoid Shingles is to avoid being infected with chickenpox through proper vaccination, which is available for both children and adults.
Common Symptoms of Shingles
Itchy and Painful Skin
The people suffering from Shingles often complain of shooting needle like pain on one side of the body, in the initial stages. Weeks before the actual rash of the shingles appear, the skin area becomes very sensitive to touch, starts itching and the surrounding area is very painful and hurts.A burning sensation is also often felt in and around the area of the skin where the rashes later appear.
Headaches And Chills
Patients suffering from Shingles also experience severe headaches and body ache. They suffer from chills, but have no fever. The shingles patient also complain of diarrhea and passing of watery stools. The patients also face disorders of the stomach like stomach ache and cramps.These symptoms of shingles, before the appearance of rashes are similar to that of flu with the exception of fever. The lymph nodes of the body may also become swelled up, enlarged and tender.
Appearance of rashes is yet another very important symptom experienced by patients suffering from Shingles. The rashes usually appear on only one side of the body, that is, either right or left, in patches or bands.The rashes may occur on any part of the body and is accompanied by intense pain.The rash due to shingles is more painful then itchy in nature. The most common body areas where the rashes appear are shoulders, buttocks, neck, chest, scalp etc.
Formation of blisters is another important symptom exhibited by the people suffering from Shingles. The rashes are usually first to appear on the body, which look like little red bumps. These blisters are originally filled with clear fluid, which later within two to three days turns cloudy and yellowish in colour.Thereafter, in about 5-6 days, these blisters burst causing the fluid to ooze out and congeal. The fluid upon release forms scabs, which fall off within a week or two.
The people suffering from Shingles experience a lot of pain before the rashes appear. The pain often occurs only on the area where the rashes will appear, which is usually on one side of the body. The pain experienced by the patients is so great that they even have to take pain killers for it.The pain usually subsides after the healing of blisters. However, in some people the pain may even persists weeks and months after the blisters have disappeared.
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