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Shingles: An acute infection caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same virus as causes chickenpox. Shingles is caused by herpes zoster virus and is often seen attacking people who have been infected with chickenpox. It is easy to identify shingles that is marked with painful blisters closer to the region of nerve root. Once rashes and blisters are observed on the skin you need to start antiviral drugs immediately.
Do not give chances for the virus to spread to other regions of your body causing more pain.
Pain killers like Ibuprofen is to be taken along with these drugs for getting quick relief from pain. Shingles will not create any problem and blisters will respond well for medications and heal completely. For some people the pain will continue even after the disappearance of rashes leading to a condition called postherpetic neuralgia. 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.

Shingles are contagious and this virus has no connection with genital herpes or oral herpes virus. The infected person will experience burning pain before several days of first rash appearance. But in rare cases the blisters can be infected by bacteria to form cellulitis infection on your skin. In this case, the pain may extend beyond a month or even more leading to irritation of the nerves. Vaccine Zostavax is available for shingles but it can be given only for people above 55 and those who have already had been infected with chickenpox or shingles. It is a painful disease which attacks the nervous system and rashes appear over the affected nerves. 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 occurs because of exposure to chickenpox or reactivation of the herpes zoster virus.
It causes intense pain with rash which can be treated with antiviral medications and steroids. It is seen as small, red blisters on the skin followed by more number of blisters on various parts of the body.
The intensity of spreading the infection to others will be high when the blisters start producing liquid. Chemotherapy also increases the risk.Those recovering from an illness or under stress are also at a higher risk. 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. It is believed these blisters would follow the path of nerves arising out of the spinal cord and follow a specific distribution pattern resembling a€?raysa€?. A person who has already been infected by chickenpox will not get infected with shingles from others. When situations are favorable (like weakened immunity or serious infection or hormonal imbalance) the virus becomes active and attack the person causing painful blisters and rashes. However a person who has not been infected with chickenpox has few chances to get infected with shingles rash from others.

In that case, biopsy of the affected region is done in the laboratory to check the growth of herpes virus.
Tricyclic antidepressants like Amitriptyline are given along with epilepsy drugs like Neurontin or carbamazepine.
It is seen that fatigue and injury on the skin where rashes appeared are among the other causes.
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.
Certain factors like weakened immunity and stress can aggravate the virus causing intense symptoms. Instead the virus will remain dormant on their body until it becomes active suddenly causing pain and blisters. Now the itching becomes severe and within few days rashes will turn into blisters filled with fluids. Pregnant women should not take chickenpox vaccine as well as vaccine for shingles, since it can cause complications in the fetus.
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. It causes numbness, itching or pain followed by the appearance of clusters of littles blisters in a strip pattern on one side of the body. Anyone who have carried chickenpox virus has increased chance to get shingles in later years of his life. In the last stage, the fluid from the blisters will burst open spreading more infection to others. In rare cases it can affect your ears and cranial nerves causing deafness and facial nerve weakness.
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.
The pain can persist for weeks, months or years after the rash heals and is then known as post-herpetic neuralgia. People with shingles are contagious to persons who have not had chickenpox and can catch chickenpox from close contact with a person who has shingles.
Often it involves only one level of the nerve and in some cases more number of levels is affected. There are some people who will not get any rashes or blisters but still have the pain on many areas of the body with blurred vision. Treatment includes antiviral medication and pain medication. The term shingles has nothing to do with a shingle on a roof or the small signboard outside the office of a doctor but is derived from the Latin cingulum meaning girdle, the idea being that shingles often girdles part of the body.

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