It by the same virus that causes Chickenpox, herpes zoster. Shingles are a painful viral infection of the nerves leading to your skin. If you have ever had Chickenpox, you are at risk for Shingles. The herpes zoster virus can stay dormant in your body for years. There is no specific known cause for Shingles to appear, but it is thought that stress, age and certain diseases and treatments that lead to a lowered immune response such as chemotherapy, HIV, Aids, along with other medical conditions and treatments.
The first sign is pain, itching or a burning tingling sensation. These symptoms are only found on either the left or right side of your body. Shingles usually affect mid-torso and up on the body. The Shingles rash will be present on the skin where the nerves were affected by the Shingles virus. Shingles symptoms are extreme pain and sensitivity to touch, even the touch of clothing, small red blisters which go from mid back around to the mid point of the front of the body, chills, pain in the abdomen, achy joints, headache, fever, muscle weakness and aches, dizziness, vision changes, taste changes and itching. If you have Shingles or think you may have Shingles, you may have all or some of the symptoms.
It usually resolve within 2 or 3 weeks without any medical intervention in otherwise healthy people.
See you doctor at the first sign of the virus especially f you have a lowered immune response or a severe Shingles outbreak. The doctor can prescribe antiviral medications. The antiviral medication has to be given as soon as possible and usually before the blistering forms.
If you develop an outbreak of Shingles near your eyes see your doctor to prevent permanent damage to your eyes and vision.
Keep the infected area clean to prevent a secondary bacterial infection.
Take a cool bath with Aveeno Oatmeal Bath to soothe pain.
Rest is important to help heal. Avoid foods such as wheat, chocolate and peanuts which can actually prolong Shingles pain and symptoms.
Take an over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil to ease Shingles pain. If an over the counter pain reliever doesn't help, your doctor can prescribe a prescription pain reliever.
Take an antihistamine to reduce the itching.
Apply Calamine lotion to the blistered areas as a treatment. Use a sterile cotton ball and dispose of the cotton ball between applications.
Wash bedding and clothing that comes in contact with affected areas often and in the hottest water possible.