Shingles – Painful Nerves?


Shingles, or Herpes Zoster as it is sometimes called, is a painful reactivation of the Chickenpox virus. Zoster usually appears as a local rash to one specific area of ​​the body. It usually does not cross the midline of left half versus right half of the body. It follows a dermatome nerve root pattern from the ganglion to the tip at the end of the nerve. When we've had and gotten over a case of chickenpox, which older adults do in childhood, the virus can remain dormant in the areas in and around the ganglions.

Ganglions are junctions of nerves where they connect to other nerves. Then one day, due to stress, older age, decreased immunity, excessive sunlight or some unknown reason, it suddenly becomes active in a nerve root on one side of the body. This can be from acidy or spicy foods as tomatoes, pineapple, peppers, pizza, spaghetti, lemons, oranges, orange juice, red sauce, drugs, immune suppressors, medicines or steroids. It travels up from the ganglion in a peripheral nerve where it really starts "raising cane." It starts to feel tingly and painful, and a day or so later, a vesicular chickenpox-like rash developments. The pain can increase until it is almost unbearable in some cases. Nothing seems to work well enough to stop it. You can take the prescription antiviral very early on and sometimes shorten the course and severity of the outbreak.

The earlier shingles are valued the better the output usually will be. Sometimes a local aesthetic cream or oral pain medicine can help, but mostly it takes time to resolve, usually four to six weeks. Interestingly, it has been seen in some teenagers and young adults who only received one chickenpox immunization in childhood. The thing we dread the most is the development of an almost permanent pain area when the rash goes away; This is called post-herpetic neuralgia. It can set up really odd pain syndromes such as severe pain when even a breeze blows across it (allodynia). This can last a long time or almost forever. Shingles typically do not cross the midline of the body and swell the nerve root.

L-Lysine tablets decrease pain and decrees healing time .. It may work well with a low dose on a daily basis to help prevent re-infection. New infections get a dose pack of high to low doses over approximately 10 days. You should never just stop this medication suddenly once given as it may precipitate a new or worse flare. Never use steroids with this diagnosis – it could be disastrous. Steroids help the virus grow very, worsening the disease.

We now have a preventive vaccination for shingles .. It is a vaccine of an attenuated virus, which builds the body's immunity to shingles. It is a bit pricey but has had some excellent results. It is approved now for people over 60 years old. It is a onetime shot which is safe if you are not allergic to gelatin or neomycin. You should not have it if you are pregnant or may become pregnant, have significant immune deficiency, or are on high doses of corticosteroids.

If you develop shingles or think you have developed them, see a physician. The earlier a physician prescribes you an antiviral, the better. Yes, we can treat the virus with medication and they work quite well. You are most contagious when you first develop the start of a new eruption. Keep the rash clean and dry, and watch for any signs of secondary bacterial infection. Use caution that you do not touch or spread the shingles to your eyes. Your physician can usually give you something for pain if necessary. Remember the shingles rash could actually spread the disease to someone with HIV, cancers, or other immune deficiency with disastrous results or even results.

If you can before the misery strikes, get your shingles prevention vaccine and see your doctor ASAP with any new eruptions as symptoms.