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admin 05.08.2015

The varicella zoster virus is a type of herpes simplex virus (HSV) but is not the same as the herpes simplex virus that causes genital herpes. Herpes zoster is not a virus but a syndrome that arises with reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV) years or even decades after chickenpox.
Herpes zoster is the same as shingles, an alternative and commonly used name for this condition.
Herpes zoster is more likely to occur in a person with a depressed immune system and the elderly. Herpes zoster, commonly known as just zoster or shingles, is a condition caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV).
Shingles is the syndrome where a painful skin rash marked by the presence of tiny blisters usually forms on a dermarcated area on the skin surface of the head or trunk. Once the virus reactivates, it causes inflammation of the nerves and is therefore also known as acute posterior ganglionitis. However, shingles often arises for no known reason even in a person without any of these contributing factors. Images from CDC (1)The main symptoms of herpes zoster (shingles) is an itchy skin rash and pain which has been discussed in detail below.
Herpes zoster mainly affects sensory nerves but motor nerves that control muscles may also be affected. Pain that lasts for longer than a month, even after the rash clears, is most likely a complication of shingles known as post-herpetic neuralgia. All images have been sourced from the Dermatology Atlas (2) courtesy of Samuel Freire da Silva, M.D.
Tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants and corticosteroids along with anesthetics may be needed for post-herpetic neuralgia. Treatment should be commenced immediately once a diagnosis of shingles is made, preferably within the first few days of the onset of the rash.
Zoster vaccine to prevent shingles and should be considered only for a person older than 60 years of age. Ask a Doctor Online Now!Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis. The shingles rashes are caused by the virus called varicella-zoster, the same virus that brings about chickenpox.
A specific cure for shingles has not yet been developed, so antiviral drugs are used to attack the virus and get rid of the rashes. The rashes can be treated at home as well through applying cool compresses and calamine lotion to treat the inflammation and redness.
U am 29 years old and I’ve undergone herpes zoster below my chest area when i was 17yo and it was treated.


After the active phase of the infection resolves, the virus stays dormant at the spinal nerve root, specifically the dorsal root ganglion. It mainly affects the sensory nerves but can sometimes involve the motor nerves – those nerves that control muscles in the body. These symptoms usually settle after 10 to 15 days but can take up to one month to resolve completely. This gives rise to symptoms such as paralysis of the diaphragm, bladder and bowel problems, cranial nerve palsies and muscle weakness. A dermatome is an area of the skin which is innervated by nerves from a single spinal root. However, if the infection occurs in a vaccinated person it is usually less severe and shorter in duration. The virus that causes shingles is the exact same one that causes chickenpox, called the varicella zoster virus.
After one develops chickenpox, the virus remains in the person’s system even after recovery. Shingles can affect any age group but is more commonly seen in the elderly and those with depressed immune defenses. Although the peripheral nerves to the trunk is commonly affected, the virus may cause inflammation of any part of the nervous system, even the brain (encephalitis), meninges (meningitis) or both (meningoencephalitis). Otherwise known as “herpes zoster”, the shingles virus is one that remains dormant after a person contracts and recovers from chickenpox.
In some people, the virus becomes reactivated and attacks the nerve pathways located on the skin. And the past few days i was busy cleaning furniture and due to dust my body got itchy and my chest got a rash and it becomes itchy until now and this area is where herpes zoster grew before. Pain sometimes persists after the rash has gone, more commonly in people over the age of 50. The varicella zoster virus causes the common childhood infection known as chickenpox which resolves after a few weeks. The virus targets certain nerves with symptoms such as the rash and pain being isolated to those areas of the skin supplied by a single spinal nerve.
It is reactivated when the person experiences certain types of stressors or immune deficiencies, setting off the shingles disease. The reason for the reactivation is yet to be fully determined but it has been found that immune deficiencies are a common factor in patients with shingles. However, the virus remains dormant for long periods of time in the body and may sometimes reactivate to cause inflammation of the nerve roots.
Although shingles resolves within a month, it can sometimes lead to complications or the pain can persist for months thereafter (post-herpetic neuralgia).


This results in the rash which is known for following a particular pattern, such as appearing as a streak of rashes along one side of the torso. This does not happen in every person who had chickenpox and is more frequently seen in diminished immune states. Vaccines provide an effective albeit not guaranteed protection against developing shingles. A slight weakening of the immune system in older people may account for the virus reactivating and multiplying to cause shingles.) Shingles is also more common in people with a poor immune system (immunosuppression). The rash looks like chickenpox, but only appears on the band of skin supplied by the affected nerve. The soft tissues under and around the rash may become swollen for a while due to swelling (inflammation) caused by the virus. In this person, it has affected a nerve and the skin that the nerve supplies, on the left side of the abdomen. In severe cases it can lead to inflammation of the whole of the eye which may cause loss of vision. People with a poor immune system (immunosuppression) who develop shingles have a higher than normal risk of developing rare or serious complications.
Pain may be eased by cooling the affected area with ice cubes (wrapped in a plastic bag), wet dressings, or a cool bath. A non-adherent dressing that covers the rash when it is blistered and raw may help to reduce pain caused by contact with clothing.
An antiviral medicine does not kill the virus but works by stopping the virus from multiplying. It had also been hoped that antiviral medicines would reduce the risk of pain persisting into PHN. However, the research so far has shown that the current antiviral medicines taken during an episode of shingles do not seem to have much impact on the prevention of PHN. Further research is needed in this area to determine if certain groups of patients do benefit and if newer antiviral drugs can prevent PHN.
For example, young adults and children who develop shingles on their tummy (abdomen) very often have mild symptoms and have a low risk of developing PHN. In addition to easing pain during an episode of shingles, they may also help to prevent PHN.
You will normally be given antiviral medication whatever your age, and will be monitored for complications.



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