Shingles Symptoms
and the Shingles Virus

Shingles symptoms - If you are a Baby Boomer one thing that you should know is that even adults can be affected by that old childhood virus that causes millions of individuals to develop chicken pox. You see once you have battled this disease your body forces the virus into submission but while it may lie dormant for many years the chicken pox/shingles virus can still be resurrected.

Age, stress and poor physical health are all factors that can lower your immune system's ability to contain this shingles virus completely. In this case the virus could once again attack but this time instead of the herpes zoster virus creating an annoying case of chicken pox it will target your body with a painful and debilitating disease known as Shingles.

Herpes zoster, or Shingles, is caused by a virus and there are no immunizations that can prevent this outbreak from occurring. Shingles virus attacks the nerve endings and this is what causes such intense pain for people who develop this disease.

The interesting thing about shingles symptoms is the uni-lateral appearance. Shingles symptoms such as rash, pustules, draining sores and pain on just one side of a person's body. When the rash first appears it usually forms a band that can be seen on either the left or right side of your body, but it does not cross over the middle of your body and travel to the opposite side.

It is primarily older people who develop shingles virus, but sometimes younger adults with weakened immune systems can also develop this disease. Stress, physical illness, immune disorders, and even some medications can make people more prone to shingles. No one can determine who will, or will not, develop a case of shingles virus. However, the good news is that almost everyone who does suffer with this disease will recover and will not have to deal with the disease again in the future. The bad news is that there are an unfortunate few cases where people have had shingles reappear but at least any future outbreaks will not be as severe as the original one was.

These are the most common shingles symptoms that you should know.

  • Pain or extreme discomfort (that is not related to arthritis or other ailments) that is present on just the left or right side of your face, torso or body. This symptom is especially significant if it is accompanied by sensitivity to light, chills, and a headache.
  • Skin that is intensely tingling, prickling or itching for no apparent reason, again on just one side of your body.
  • Another shingles symptom is the sudden development of burning or stabbing pain on one side of your body. This pain may occur for just a short period of time or you might notice that it lasts for a while. This type of "shingles related" pain often occurs in the face, arm, back, leg, hip or shoulder.
  • The inflammation and rash associated with shingles virus outbreaks usually appears within several days of the itching, although it could take 1-3 weeks for the rash to appear.
  • Small fluid filled pustules that resemble blisters will appear on your body about 3-5 days after the rash is first seen. These blistery formations will generally form a band or a small line on some area of your body, but only be on the right or left side.
  • It will take a few days for the blisters caused by shingles virus to open and begin to drain. Then they will form crusts and scabs as the first healing stages begin. It will take 2-5 weeks for all traces of your shingles virus to completely disappear. Much like with the chicken pox you suffered from as a child, shingles virus can also cause permanent or semi-permanent scarring of the skin.

If you suspect that you are being affected by a shingles virus outbreak by noticing shingles symptoms you need to contact your physician or health care provider as soon as possible. There are now certain antiviral medications that can shorten the outbreak and even lessen the severity of the shingles symptoms if you begin to take them early enough.

Because the pustules will open and begin to drain at some point and time it is possible for a secondary bacterial infection (such as staph) to develop. You need to practice good hygiene if you have shingles so that your chances of a secondary skin infection are reduced.

Signs of a skin infection would include spiking fevers, pus and foul drainage, and increased redness and inflammation. Doctors can prescribe skin ointments and antibiotics to help control this type of problem if is should occur.

Shingles on the facial area will often spread to the eyes where the disease can create corneal scarring. You need to make sure that you are seen by an ophthalmologist so this danger can be prevented.

A shingles virus rash that lingers for more than 7-10 days without any noticeable improvement must be addressed immediately to prevent the possibility of long term nerve damage.

Although most doctors can prescribe medication to help control the pain caused by shingles it is difficult to completely eliminate all of the discomfort because of the nerve involvement. Do ask you physician for help if you have severe pain because in some instances nerve block therapy can be performed.

Some people will develop post herpetic neuralgic pain. This is a nerve induced pain that is still present a month after a shingles virus outbreak. Approximately 15% of all people with shingles will develop some degree of post herpetic neuralgia. This is more likely to occur in individuals who are over the age of 50, or have underlying health concerns such as HIV, diabetes or renal disease. It has been noted that this type of pain is more commonly seen in those who experienced extreme instances of skin rash and pain during their outbreak of shingles virus.

This short video may be of some help

For more information try Web MD .

As well as here from the National Institute of Health.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Registered Nurse 
Around February 16th, 2012, a Thursday, I noticed an itchy rash on my right side at my waist. I thought it might be a bug bite and simply ignored it. …

Singles as a child and as an adult. Not rated yet
I started getting Shingles when I was ten years old. I always got the rash in the same area namely on the top of my left shoulder. Before the rash made …

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