Shingles is referred to as an infection of nerve and the area of skin around it. It is primarily caused by the herpes varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. Shingles generally affects a particular area on either the left or right side of the body and does not cross over the midline of the body (an imaginary line running from between your eyes, down past the belly button). It causes a painful rash which develops into itchy blisters.
Signs and Symptoms
Most common symptoms of shingles are:
- One-sided pain
- Tingling, or burning
- Red patches on skin, followed by small blisters
- Fever and chills
- Genital sores
- Joint pain
In some cases, after chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in certain nerves of the body. Shingles occurs after the virus becomes active again in later years. Shingles may develop in any age group, but you are more likely to develop the condition if:
- You are older than 60 years
- You had chickenpox before age 1
- Your immune system is weakened by medications or disease
At first, your doctor may prescribe a medicine to counter the virus. This drug helps reduce pain, prevents complications, and shortens the course of the disease.
Resting in bed until the fever goes down, is recommended.
- Keep the skin clean.
- Do not reuse contaminated items.
- Wash non-disposable items in boiling water or disinfect them before using them again.