An Overview of Shingles
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash that most commonly occurs in older adults and individuals with weakened immune systems. This health condition causes individuals to experience numerous unwanted symptoms including headaches, itching, pain and blisters. If an individual in the Tyler, Texas area believes they are experiencing shingles, it is best to contact a healthcare provider immediately. The painful symptoms improve with early intervention. The pain management doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to assist individuals suffering from this condition at their East Texas practice.
What is Shingles?
Shingles is characterized as a viral infection that causes a painful rash. The health condition is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus responsible for chickenpox. After an individual has chickenpox, usually in their younger years, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue around the brain and spinal cord. If the virus reactivates in later years, the virus is known as shingles.
A person cannot catch shingles from someone else who has the condition. It is important to note there is a small chance a person with an active shingles rash can spread the virus to another person who has not had chickenpox.
What are Shingles Symptoms?
Shingles typically occurs in older adults over the age of 50 years, as well as individuals with a weakened immune system caused by injury, stress or certain medications.
Shingles occurs in various stages. The first stage is marked by light sensitivity and headaches. Many people also report flu-like symptoms, but with no fever. Later, the condition causes pain, itching or tingling in a certain area. This is the area where a band, strip or small area of rash develops after a few days. The rash will then turn into blisters, followed by the blisters filling with fluid and crusting over. It usually takes 2-4 weeks for the blisters to heal.
Shingles can also cause certain individuals to experience weakness, dizziness and changes in vision.
Pain Management and Treatment for Shingles
It is very important East Texas residents call a physician immediately if they believe they are experiencing the onset of shingles symptoms. The health condition is better treated with almost immediate medical attention.
Shingles is treated with medicines, including antiviral medications and pain medications. Typical medications include Zovirax, Valtrex and Famvir. Antidepressants and anticonvulsants are also commonly prescribed.
Other pain management treatments include Capsaicin cream, numbing agents and corticosteroid injections.
People with shingles can expect the condition to last between 2-6 weeks. In many cases, a person only experiences shingles one time, but it is possible to have the condition flare up more than once.
For additional information on shingles, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain management practice of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.