A Quick Overview of Shingles Virus, Its Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments

Shingles Virus, also known as herpes zoster, is a skin rash that looks quite like chickenpox on your skin.

It’s in no way comfortable to suffer from Shingles Virus. It is, in most cases, a highly annoying painful, itchy and blistering skin rash that typically resides on your skin for at least two to four weeks. Even if you are somehow successful at keeping it at bay, through any of the best available treatments out there, the pain that Shingles Virus brings to your body will be highly likely to persist for months (reportedly, even years in some cases).

What Causes Shingles Virus?

The culprit is the same virus that causes chickenpox on your skin, i.e. varicella-zoster virus. You’ll start to see an onslaught of Shingles Virus on your skin particularly when varicella-zoster starts to develop again in your body after you’ve gotten over chickenpox.

So, it shouldn’t be considered as “all over” even after you’ve dealt with chickenpox.

The answer can’t possibly be a simple one. You will need to understand the nature of varicella-zoster, the virus behind both shingles and chickenpox, to get a clear understanding of this whole situation.

When you get relieved from chickenpox on your skin, varicella-zoster virus kind of sleeps or hibernates inside your nerve roots. During this period, it is essentially dormant until or unless it wakes up again due to various factors. Now, this is the time you might see an outbreak of shingles on your skin. At this time, you cannot quite determine whether or not this virus will get active again inside your body. One thing’s for sure – whenever this virus becomes active again in your body, it can only cause shingles and not chickenpox. Normally, varicella-zoster virus will keep dormant in your nerve roots for the course of your entire life. But that’s not always the case, obviously.

There are a number of factors, as experts believe, that can trigger varicella-zoster virus to get active again in your body. This includes weakness of immune system – and because of this factor older people tend to get more affected by this disease as they have weaker immune system. Moreover, stress, injuries, and certain medications can also contribute towards the development of shingles on your skin.

Are You Alone Suffering From Shingles Virus?

Obviously not! Studies reveal that over one million individuals suffer from this virus each year in the United States alone. This essentially means that every 1 out of three 3 individuals is victimized by Shingles Virus each year. And not to mention that we’re talking about US based cases only. This leads us to believe how significant this disease is and why is it so important to increase awareness about its symptoms,  causes and cures among the general public.

What Is the Difference Between Shingles And Chickenpox?

Being caused by the same virus – i.e., varicella-zoster – does not mean that shingles and chickenpox share the same nature. Unlike chickenpox, shingles virus is not as much of a contagious disease. The odds of you catching shingles from anyone who’s already suffering from this disease are quite low. However, there exists little probability for its spreading particularly to a person who has not suffered from chickenpox in his life or has not taken chickenpox vaccine.

How Shingles Develop On Your Skin (Symptoms of Shingles)

Shingles develop through a series of stages on your skin. At first, you might feel like you have flu but not a fever. Your Skin might become sensitive to the sunlight, and you might even experience headache time and time again. After this stage, you might start feeling itching, burning, tingling, or pain on certain areas of your skin. And this is where things start to get worse. In that same place where you might see the symptoms just mentioned, there may be a small rash a few days later. Day by day, that small rash, if not effectively taken care of, will develop into clusters of blisters. These blisters at least take two to four weeks to heal, and they also leave a scar behind them most of the time.

Throughout this period of development of shingles virus on your skin, you might feel weak or dizzy. And the pain shingles rashes bring may persist long after they fade from your skin.

In extreme cases, as revealed by some experts, shingles can even affect your vision. It can have adverse effects on your thought process. In this situation, your very first line of defense should be immediately calling a doctor.

Treatment of Shingles

Antihistamines are mostly prescribed to tackle the itching caused by shingles, whereas calamine lotion is considered to be a good natural alternative to gain the same benefits. Moreover, wearing loose-fitting clothes, and keeping your rash clean and clear are some basic yet essential preventative measures to halt further development of shingles.

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