Shingles is a condition that is caused by a viral infection. It causes painful rashes to develop on the body. The varicella-zoster virus is that virus that causes the Chicken Pox. After a person has gotten over Chicken pox, the virus lays dormant in his body for several years. Shingles occurs when the varicella-zoster virus gets reactivated.
Itching, burning rashes and fluid-filled blisters are some of the most common Shingles symptoms. Some patients may also experience a headache, fever, achiness and fatigue. It is important to note that a person with Shingles may not develop rashes.
Most people with Shingles get over it without any problems. However, vision loss, skin infections and neurological problems can develop if this condition is left untreated. People who are over the age of 65 or have an illness that compromises their immune system are at an increased risk for developing complications from Shingles.
There is no way to permanently cure Shingles. However, there are a number of medications that can reduce the symptoms and prevent complications. A physician will usually prescribe an antiviral medication such as Valtrex or Famfir. Patients who have severe pain may be prescribed an anticonvulsant or antidepressant.
Additionally, there are things that people can do to manage this condition at home. Taking a cool bathe can help relieve the itching and soothe the pain. People can also apply a cool compress to their blisters and rashes.
There are two vaccines that have been approved to prevent Shingles. One of those vaccines is the Varicella vaccine. This vaccine is administered in early childhood to prevent Chicken Pox. It is also recommended for adults who never had that condition. The varicella vaccine is not 100 percent effective, but if a person does happen to develop Shingles, his chances of developing complications are much lower.
The Varicella-Zoster vaccine has also been approved to treat Shingles. It is approved for adults who are over the age of 50. It is important to note that this vaccine does not benefit those who already have Shingles. It is also not intended for people who have weakened immune systems.
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