Shingles is a painful skin rash that often occurs in adults. The rash often appears on the side of the torso or the face. Most of the time, shingles will appear once and clear up. It has, however, been known to re-appear in rare cases.
The first symptoms of shingles are usually a headache and flu-like symptoms. You will notice an itching or tingling in the area where the rash will later appear. The rash is normally sensitive and painful, rather than itchy.
Because of its similarity to other conditions, only your doctor will be able to determine that you have shingles. If your rash doesn’t heal or abate within a week, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist.
What Causes Shingles?
Shingles is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, which also causes chicken pox. About 90% of us get chicken pox by age 15. We only get chicken pox once. The virus stays in the body, however, in a dormant state. It reappears in about 30% of adults as shingles. About one-third of those will develop serious complications. These complications may include postherpetic neuralgia, vision loss, neurological problems, or skin infections.
Certain factors increase your risk for shingles. The first, of course, is having had chicken pox, which most of us have. Others include diseases that weaken the immune system, such as HIV or cancer, radiation or chemotherapy, and certain medications such as steroids or prednisone. Shingles is most common in adults over 50.
What Treatments are Available for Shingles?
There is no cure for shingles, but there are treatments that can shorten the duration of the illness, reduce the chance of dangerous complications, and alleviate some of the pain associated with the virus. There are two common types of medications used for shingles — anti-viral and pain medications.
Anti-viral medications are used to reduce the duration of the illness. This is important, because the longer the illness lasts, the better chance you have of experiencing dangerous complications. These complications may include skin infections, neuralgia, neurological problems, or vision loss.
For mild to normal cases, over-the-counter pain medications can be extremely helpful. For more severe cases, however, prescription medications may be necessary.
Contact TrueSkin Dermatology in Sandy, Utah
For shingles treatment, contact the offices of TrueSkin Dermatology in Sandy to set an appointment today. If you live in Draper, Riverton, Bluffdale, South Jordan, or any of the other surrounds areas give us a call!