Shingles is a viral infection that can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. While it is not usually a life-threatening condition, it can be very unpleasant. In this article, we will discuss the early symptoms of shingles so that you can get treatment as soon as possible if you think you might have the virus. We will also talk about what triggers a shingles outbreak and how to avoid getting the virus in the first place.
Where do Shingles come from?
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in your body. In some people, the virus can reactivate later in life and cause shingles. It is not clear exactly why this happens, but it is thought to be related to a weakening of the immune system.
Who is prone to Shingles?
People over the age of 50 are more likely to get shingles, but it can happen to anyone at any age. People with weakened immune systems, such as those with cancer or HIV, are also at a higher risk. Females who are pregnant or taking certain medications, such as steroids or chemotherapy drugs, are also highly prone to Shingles.
The early symptoms of shingles include:
- A burning or tingling sensation on one side of your body
- Pain on one side of your body
- Sensitivity to light
What triggers a Shingles outbreak?
There are several things that can trigger a shingles outbreak, including:
- Certain medications
- Exposure to sunlight
What are the treatment options for Shingles?
If you think you might have shingles, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
There are several antiviral medications that can be used to tackle shingles. These include:
- Acyclovir (Zovirax)
- Valacyclovir (Valtrex)
- Famciclovir (Famvir)
These drugs can help to shorten the duration of the illness and reduce the severity of symptoms. In some cases, they may also help to prevent complications from Shingles. If you have a severe case of Shingles, your doctor may also prescribe corticosteroids. These drugs can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
How can you prevent getting Shingles?
There are two vaccines that can help to prevent shingles.
- The first vaccine is called Zostavax. It is recommended for people aged 60 and over. The vaccine is about 50% effective in preventing shingles and can also help to reduce the severity of symptoms if you do get the virus.
- The other vaccine, Shingrix, was recently approved by the FDA and is recommended for people aged 50 and over. This vaccine is about 90% effective in preventing shingles. As of now, this is the doctor recommended vaccine.
If you have had chickenpox, you can also get the varicella-zoster immune globulin (VZIG) if you are exposed to someone with Shingles. This is a shot of antibodies that can help to prevent you from getting the virus.
You can also help to prevent the spread of shingles by:
- Avoiding contact with people who have shingles
Although it may be hard to do, if you have loved ones who suffer from the Shingles condition, it is pivotal for you to have limited contact with them. Being close will only help the spread of Shingles.
- Washing your hands often
Your hands carry the most bacteria. It is especially important to keep them clean to prevent Shingles from spreading.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
To avoid getting a Shingles rash on your face, do refrain from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you end up getting a shingles rash on your face, this can lead to vision or hearing complications.
What are some home remedies for Shingles?
Several home remedies may help to ease the symptoms of shingles.
- Applying a cool compress to the affected area
- Taking baths in lukewarm water
- Using calamine lotion to soothe itchiness
- Getting plenty of rest
- Eating healthy foods
- Drinking plenty of fluids
These home remedies can help to ease your symptoms and speed up your recovery. However, it may not be enough to improve your symptoms or if you develop any complications. Shingles can be a serious condition, so it is crucial to get medical treatment as soon as possible.
Do I need to see a doctor?
If you think you might have shingles, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early treatment with antiviral medication can help to shorten the duration of the illness and reduce the severity of symptoms. In some cases, it may also help to prevent complications from shingles. If you have a severe case of shingles, your doctor may also prescribe corticosteroids. These drugs can help to reduce inflammation and pain. You should also see a doctor if you develop any serious complications from shingles, such as pneumonia or encephalitis.
Shingles can be a painful and debilitating illness. However, there are several treatment options available that can help to ease symptoms and speed up recovery. If you think you might have shingles, it is crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.