What is Shingles?
An infection which is caused by the virus known as varicella-zoster is known as shingles. It is also the same virus that causes chicken pox. What happens is that even after the person has recovered from chicken pox, in a lot of cases, the virus still stays inside the body and then resurfaces as shingles.
There are no different types of shingles that we know about as of now.
A shingles doctor is the best person to consult for treatment if you think you might have it.
The shingles symptoms that first show up in an individual are sensations of burning and pain. This pain usually occurs in very small patches and usually only on one side of the body. Apart from this, some of the other common symptoms that people experience has been listed below for your understanding:
- Fever or a rise in body temperature
- Experiencing chills in the body
- Headache that is very severe
- Feeling of fatigue throughout the day
- Weakness in the muscles
Some of the serious complications that an individual might suffer from are:
- Intense pain only in one ear or loss of hearing
- Feeling of dizziness
- Loss of taste
- Rash or pain involving the eyes
- Some kind of bacterial infections
Who is at Risk?
Shingles risk factors occur in all individuals who have suffered from chicken pox in their life. However, there are other risk factors also involved in this:
- An individual who is 60 or older can get it
- Being affected by conditions that weaken the immune system like cancer, AIDS or HIV
- Having had radiation treatment or chemotherapy
- Taking drugs, steroids and medications that weaken the immune system. This is especially true for the medications that a person receives after an organ transplant.
These are some red flags that one should be cautious against and take precautions for.
The shingles originate from getting infected by the varicella-zoster that causes chicken pox, as already discussed above. The reason why the two are interlinked is not very clear however are some causes that experts have been able to mine. We have discussed a few of them below for your knowledge:
- A lower immunity towards infections in people who are older or above the age of 60.
- A weak immune system irrespective of the age of the individual
- Experiencing a lot of emotional stress
- When age catches up
- Undergoing any major surgery or treatment for cancer including chemotherapy
How is Shingles diagnosed?
For shingles diagnosis a doctor will first conduct a physical examination to look for any blisters or rashes. He will also examine you about your medical health history. In rare cases, if the doctor feels the need, then further diagnosis through various shingles tests is usually conducted. What exactly happens is mentioned below:
- The doctor will take sample of the fluid from your blisters or of your skin
- He does this by taking a sterile swab and then collecting a sample of the fluid or the tissue.
- The samples are then sent to test labs or a medical laboratory to examine them and confirm the presence of a virus.
These are some common methods practised widely.
How is Shingles treated?
There is no specific cure for shingles treatment but showing it to a doctor and taking necessary precautions helps in faster treatment of the virus:
- The doctor should treat you within 72 hours of getting infected by the virus and developing symptoms
- The doctor may prescribe certain medicines for shingles to help ease the symptoms and also decrease the length of your infection.
Care.Fit is your neighbourhood health care provider that offers various health services. They have on their team the best dermatologists from all over India to attend to any medical requirements. All their services are listed on their app and website. You should consider them if you are looking for a good shingles cure.
How can Shingles be prevented?
Shingles prevention can be done through different ways which have been mentioned below for your reference:
- Getting vaccination done as early as possible for chicken pox is the best way to protect yourself against measles, irrespective if you are a child or an adult.
- Adults who are above the age of 50 should get a shingles vaccination for themselves. This is also known as the varicella-zoster vaccination which helps in the prevention of complications and severe symptoms that are associated with shingles.
It is best to consult a doctor for which vaccine you need to take.