At What Age Should You Get A Shingles Shot – Shingles is a manifestation of the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. While chickenpox usually occurs in isolation in young children, shingles usually occurs in people over the age of 50.
When the herpes zoster virus is triggered by a stressful event, shingles begins as a painful, itchy sensation on the skin, followed by a blistering, fluid-filled rash that lies isolated on the side of the body.
At What Age Should You Get A Shingles Shot
The herpes zoster virus is trapped in nerve roots and can lie dormant for years. After being reactivated by a stressful event, they travel up the nerve, from the dorsal root in the spinal cord to the nerve in the skin (dermatome).
Shingles: Symptoms With Pictures
Once it reaches the skin, you will see the virus. It starts with a tingling or burning sensation and pain. A few days later, a red rash with fluid-filled blisters begins to form. These blisters can break open and form crusts. The rash can appear on the face, body, arms, legs, back, or chest but stay on one side of the body — a sign of shingles.
Although the rash only affects one side of the body, the number of rashes varies from person to person. A day or two after symptoms appear, you may only see one area of the rash, or you may see a rash that stretches from front to back and ends at the midline of the body. In this redness you will see vesicles (small fluid-filled blisters) or crusted red bumps that have healed from scratching.
When a patient visits a dermatologist for herpes zoster, we usually see a scab, a red bump that has broken open, or the patient has scratched the affected area.
The virus that causes herpes lies dormant for years, so there’s usually no definite link to where you contracted the virus. However, stressful events are known to activate viral symptoms. We see shingles blister symptoms appear when your immune system is weakening, your stress levels are rising, or you’ve been exposed to unusual amounts of sunlight.
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If you notice herpes symptoms, see a dermatologist for herpes treatment immediately. The sooner it’s treated, the less likely your symptoms will improve.
Our first goal in treatment is to get the lesion to heal quickly. This will provide shingles with itching and healing faster.
The second goal of treatment is to try to prevent postherpetic neuralgia. If a dermatologist can treat herpes within 72 hours of the rash appearing, you may have a chance to avoid the pain and burning sensation that can occur weeks or months after the rash disappears. If treated early, you can prevent postherpetic neuralgia altogether.
We also want to treat shingles to prevent it from spreading. When the virus becomes aerosolized (airborne liquid), it can spread to people with weakened immune systems, including pregnant women, infants, or immunocompromised patients. For example, if a visible blister bursts and becomes airborne, a vulnerable person may contract the virus and then show symptoms of herpes. Shingles is also spread through direct contact with blistered fluids.
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Visiting a dermatologist to treat shingles can help protect others, allow for faster healing from current symptoms, and help prevent future symptoms.
We treat all shingles patients to minimize the long-term effects and spread of the virus, even if it has been more than 72 hours since symptoms began.
We begin treatment by prescribing the oral antiviral drug valaciclovir (or Valtrex) for most cases of herpes zoster virus. This will help reduce the time the patient experiences viral manifestations and reduce the possibility of postherpetic neuralgia.
We also recommend that patients use topical therapy to relieve these symptoms. We prescribe steroid lotion for shingles and recommend the use of bandages soaked in vinegar to calm many quickly. Patients can soak cotton towels or pajamas in a mixture of vinegar and water. After applying the steroid lotion for shingles, they should cover it with a cloth soaked in vinegar. The substance adheres to the skin and helps the steroid penetrate the rash. Topical therapy does not cure the virus itself, but it does help reduce the severity of symptoms.
What Is Herpes Zoster
For patients with postherpetic neuralgia, we offer other treatment options for pain relief. This can be prescribed by a dermatologist, or a dermatologist can work with a family doctor or neurologist to help relieve pain. We usually prescribe Neurontin (also called gabapentin) to treat nerve pain. This won’t cure the rash or virus itself, but it will help reduce the pain.
Because shingles is a viral form, we cannot treat it. After the symptoms have disappeared, the herpes zoster virus once again lies dormant in the nerves. If the patient relapses, we will treat them in the same way to reduce the severity as soon as possible.
Yes, but it is less common for people who have received the vaccine to see symptoms of this virus.
Yes, shingles can come back. It’s not common for shingles to appear more than once, but it can happen. Shingles is caused by the herpes zoster virus, which is dormant on the nerves. If the symptoms go away, the virus persists and can be reactivated at a later date.
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Yes, shingles is contagious, especially when the vesicles are open. Once the shingles blisters rupture and crust over, shingles is usually no longer contagious. If you live with a pregnant or immunocompromised person, you should avoid them for the first few days until the blisters are no longer filled with fluid. The virus is spread through direct or air contact with the liquid. Once the fluid is gone, it is usually no longer contagious.
If shingles occurs on the face or ears, it should be carefully monitored to avoid long-term damage to vision and hearing.
If the rash appears on the tip of the nose, contact a dermatologist and ophthalmologist immediately. Shingles on the tip of the nose indicates that the eye is also infected with the virus. You should start treatment immediately. Ophthalmologists will test whether the virus is present in the cornea and can protect the eye from long-term effects.
If the ear is affected, it can also cause tinnitus — the perception of ringing or noise in the ear. We must take care of it as soon as possible to avoid possible hearing problems. Your dermatologist will refer you to an ear, nose and throat doctor for proper ear treatment.
Shingles Pain And Prevention
If the herpes zoster virus shows signs of affecting the eyes or ears, we consider this a dermatological emergency, which must be treated by a dermatologist as well as an ophthalmologist or otolaryngologist.
No, don’t explode the clapboards. Your shingles blisters may burst or rupture naturally, but don’t rush the process. Your dermatologist may choose to perform an in-office shingles blister to check for viral cultures if the rash is not a clear sign of an individual person. In these cases, they may do a biopsy, culture, or viral PCR to confirm the diagnosis. If they have a clinical suspicion of herpes, they begin treatment immediately and confirm the diagnosis with a biopsy once it is complete.
Vaccination guidelines for shingles change frequently and depend on the individual case. If you are immunosuppressed by HIV, contact your infectious disease doctor for recommendations. This is a live vaccine and reactivation of the virus is possible.
For patients who are about to start a biological medication for psoriasis or other dermatological diseases, it is best if you receive the vaccine before starting the medication.
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If you have any type of immunosuppression, consult your doctor about the best option for your condition. The herpes zoster virus that causes chickenpox can cause shingles, a disease characterized by painful rashes and blisters. (ISTOCKPHOTO)
Shingles causes severe pain that sometimes lasts long after the blister-like rash has gone. Does this disease put you at risk for other health problems later on?
The researchers analyzed a decade of data from 46,426 adults, half of whom had shingles. Compared to people without the disease, people diagnosed with herpes had a 59% higher risk of heart attack, 35% higher risk of stroke, and 41% higher risk of both. The likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke is highest in the first year after the onset of shingles and gradually decreases. The risk of stroke is highest in those 40 years of age and younger.
People who develop herpes zoster, a painful rash caused by the herpes zoster virus, which causes chickenpox at some point in life. The virus remains in the body, albeit dormant, until it is reactivated years later for reasons that are unclear. One theory is that viral reactivation is related to decreased immunity to infection.
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