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Health and MedicineDiseasesHerpes zoster (shingles): what is it, symptoms, causes and treatment?

Herpes zoster (shingles): what is it, symptoms, causes and treatment?

Herpes zoster is a virus also known as shingles, which produces severe pain and itching as its main symptoms.  Find out everything there is to know about him.

Herpes zoster is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It has a high degree of incidence, especially in adults, and is characterized by the appearance of skin rashes in the form of blisters or warts on many areas of the body. Due to its more than notorious form, this virus is also known as shingles or also as “San Antonio fire“.

This virus has the same composition as the chickenpox virus and therefore has a somewhat similar way of behaving that can spread through all the nerve ganglia that later turn into those annoying herpes. Once this is known, we are going to unravel the main causes that may be behind shingles.

Causes of shingles

First of all, it goes without saying that this infection is usually caught in childhood through a series of reddish rashes known as chickenpox. Over the years, this infection can become a “breeding ground” for this type of herpes. From there, the causes behind this virus can be the following:

  • Low immune system. Once the person’s defenses stop working normally, this leads to the appearance of shingles. Hence, it is a more common infection in people of advanced age.
  • Some medications when undergoing some treatments such as chemotherapy.
  • Airway. Shingles can be caught simply through inhalation through the respiratory tract.  They are highly contagious and in fact the patient can infect other people from the first day of the appearance of vesicles or skin rashes.

Symptoms of shingles

Next we are going to emphasize the different symptoms that may be behind shingles, among which the following should be highlighted. In the first place, a multitude of painful vesicles appear that are deposited on all the lumbar and thoracic nerves and even throughout the area of ​​the eye socket.

As a consequence, it is very possible that large blisters form, which can later burst or disappear in painful scabs. If they don’t heal properly, this can later lead to more serious skin infections that need to be treated as soon as possible.

Likewise, the appearance of these rashes can also cause disorders in our gastrointestinal system. Headaches may even appear accompanied by high fever and general malaise.  Finally, the intense pain also occurs in the entire herpes area that can appear even before the appearance of the blisters.

What treatment is there for shingles?

There is no treatment that can get rid of shingles directly. Although there are others that will be able to help reduce your symptoms and some of the pain until the entire area heals naturally.

We summarize below the main medical treatments that are applied to cure herpes zoster:

  • Cutaneous application drugs. There are many medications that can be applied directly to the skin with the aim of accelerating the formation of the scab and thus the herpes disappears as soon as possible. For this, liquids with diluted zinc sulfate are usually used.
  • Eye drops for the eye areas. If shingles is affecting the entire eye area, you will have to go to the ophthalmologist to prescribe an eye drop that is used to treat this infection.
  • Avoid tight clothing. If herpes appear on the abdomen, sides or buttocks, avoid wearing too tight clothing that can usually cause the symptoms to worsen and the wounds caused by the rashes take much longer to suppurate.


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