Shingles is derived from the Latin & French words which means belt or girdle. This signifies a broad distribution of a rash. This distribution is usually on one side of the body.
Shingles is a very painful disease categorized by the painful skin rash with fluid filled blisters on the skin. This is caused by the Herpes virus. The same virus is responsible for the causation of chickenpox which is very common disease of the childhood. This virus remains in the dormant stage in the body in nerve roots responsible for sensations in the body. So after some years due to some exciting factors like stress, cancer, deficiency diseases like AIDS, fever, organ transplant etc cause the reactivation of this virus & this results in the shingles disease. Incidence of this is about 1 in every 5 individuals who have had chickenpox once in the life. There are about 1 million people every year who suffer from shingles in US.
Causes Of Shingles
There is no specific & sure cause of shingles i.e reactivation of herpes virus. However, there are certain factors which can lead to its reactivation. These are stress, fatigue, immunodeficiency disease, radiation treatment, cancer, HIV/AIDS, skin injury etc.
Symptoms Of Shingles
Shingles often shows a typical stage. The symptoms occur in the following fashion –
1. The Rash stage – In the start, a patient may feel like they are having the normal viral infection. The symptoms are common as that of flu. These are headache, nausea, fever with chill. These symptoms are the primary symptoms before the outbreak of skin rash. If the disease is diagnosed at this stage & treated properly, the chances of further progress of the disease is lowered to a greater extend. This stage is the right time to boost the immune system. Normal treatment includes antiviral medicines. Then the rash appears about 3-5 days after this stage. This is accompanied with certain other symptoms like burning & tingling sensation, itching, numbness & burning pain.
2. The eruptive stage – This stage is characterized by the outbreak of blisters with pain. Blisters are often filled with clear fluid. The common sites of such blisters are on buttock, arms, legs, face. These usually occur on one side of the body. This stage may continue for about 2 weeks. The clear fluid in the blisters slowly gets converted into pus during this stage & leads to scabbing. This is highly contagious stage. Also patient may suffer from pain & itch. So he/she may like to wear loose clothes in order to avoid contact of anything with the eruptions.
3. This stage: Post Neuralgia – In some cases, the patients may feel continuous pain along the nerve pathway where earlier blisters were present. This pain even persists after the complete healing of blisters. This is the post neuralgia. Anti-inflammatory creams and oils can be helpful in such condition.