I can remember quite clearly some forty years ago when a friend told me that her husband had Shingles, and how that he was in great pain, and covered in a terrible rash. At this point I thought nothing about it until recently I was reading an article which compared different types of pain, and Shingles was mentioned.
As I write many different articles about medical health I began to check out what caused it, and why it was ranked as one of the most painful things you can get, so I began to investigate what the symptoms were, and what treatment was available.
Shingles comes from the same virus as the well known Chickenpox which lays dormant in anyone that has had chickenpox, or that has had the chickenpox vaccine. It normally affects older people where the dormant virus travels to the nerve endings in the skin area. From there the pain starts, and often patients have described the pain as coming in extreme waves that have been likened to that of an electric shock. After this stage the rash appears, which will blister and become very painful. These blisters can be full of bacteria, and great care should be taken with cleanliness.
What causes Shingles?
Several Doctors have different ideas on the causes of Shingles, but if the truth they don’t know. Some say it can start from stress, while others relate it to Cancer, or HIV. Radiation is another possibility, and also mentioned would be that it could be that part of the skin has been damaged in some way that sets the virus off. The most likely cause in my eyes is that the immune system gets severely run down, and that the virus which is normally kept at bay by our immune system, then breaks out.
The things to look out for are extreme sensitivity in the skin, which tend to have a burning sensation, and slight itching. After this stage the skin becomes painful, and if you think that you may have shingles a call to your Doctor must be made, as the sooner an antiviral medication is given the easier for the patient it will be.
Care must also be taken should the patient have a form of rash near the nose, or on any part of the face. This is most important to get immediate medical help, as if the virus reaches the eyes it can lead to impaired vision, or a complete loss of sight.
With Shingles the sooner you get medical care the better for the patient it will be. Pain killers are a must, along with things like Antihistamine can help with the itching. Often the Doctor will recommend creams or oils that can stop the blisters from drying out to fast, and in several articles it is believed that cold water compresses bring great relief, and keep the skin moist.
If possible avoid contact with others that have not had chickenpox, especially if that person is older, and try to wear loose clothing that doesn’t irate the skin.