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admin 20.01.2015

Important!: To download the full resolution images to your computer, all you need to do is right click on the thumbnail and click on 'Save link as' (Chrome, Firefox), 'Save target as' (Internet Explorer) or 'Download linked file as' (Safari). Herpes Zoster or shingles represents the reactivation of the chickenpox virus on the skin and the sensitive nerves. The signs and symptoms of shingles usually affect only a small section of one side of your body. Keeping the shingles rash clean and covered can help prevent spreading the virus to others who are at risk.
An early symptoms of shingles include headache, sensitivity to light and flu without a fever. The nerve roots that supply sensation to your skin run in pathways on each side of your body.
Vaccine reduces the risk of getting shingles and having the widespread nerve pain associated with it. This condition is known as postherpetic neuralgia, and it occurs when damaged nerve fibers send confused and exaggerated messages of pain from your skin to your brain. Then you feel itching, tingling or pain where a band, strip, or small area of rash may appear several days or weeks later. When a virus becomes reactivated it travels up the nerve roots to the area of skin supplied by those specific nerve roots.
Depending on the location of the pain, it can sometimes be mistaken for a symptom of problems affecting the heart, lungs or kidneys.

Treatment can include both antiviral medicines to prevent the virus from multiplying and antibiotics to stop infection. Pain sometimes persists after the rash has gone, more commonly in people over the age of 50. Rashes can appear anywhere on the body but will be on only one side of the body the left or right.
That’s why the rash can wrap around either the left or right side of your body more often from the middle of your back toward your chest.
When the pain persists after the resolution of the skin rash, it is called post herpetic neuralgia.
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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