Shingles is an infectious disease that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. This is herpesvirus varicella zoster. How do you get shingles?
What should you know about shingles
Probably, when the body is weakened, the person has reduced immunity, shingles become active. This in turn causes a burning pain. Inflammation of the nerve and the skin innervated by him occurs. This pain is felt along the entire affected nerve.
Vacination gives you life-long immunity. An additional benefit is not only to avoid developing smallpox, but also to reduce the risk of developing shingles.
Types of shingles
In addition to the typical shingles with a rash on one side of the body, more severe forms of the disease are noted. Those are:
- Ocular shingles: in this case, the virus attacks the eye or its surroundings. Ocular shingles can cause conjunctivitis or iritis. It has a severe course and can lead to permanent eye damage;
- Shingles on the ear: pain and rash appear near or inside the ear. Ear shingles can lead to so-called Ramsay Hunt syndrome. There is a loss of taste and paralysis of the facial nerve, which is manifested in a drooping corner of the mouth and eyelid closing. These symptoms require rehabilitation. Ear shingles can lead to unilateral hearing loss;
- Hemorrhagic shingles: this form of the disease is manifested by skin strokes;
- Gangrenous herpes zoster: skin lesions break down, leading to ulceration;
- Shingles (generalized shingles): outbreaks are scattered all over the torso. This type of herpes zoster usually occurs in people with reduced immunity.
How can you get infected
Shingles causes exactly the same virus that causes chickenpox. Reactivation of the virus will usually occur when immunity decreases (although this is not the only factor). The group of people particularly vulnerable to the risk of falling ill can include:
- people who are particularly stressed
- people over 50,
- people whose immune system is weakened
- people who are accompanied by other diseases,
Most often we get infected through contact with skin blisters in a person suffering from herpes zoster (when scabs appear, patients stop infecting). It happens that the blisters can become infected and the healing lasts for a long time. Patients with herpes zoster should see a dermatologist if pain and redness persist, because without proper treatment, infection can cause scars.
Symptoms of shingles
Shingles symptoms usually only affect a small part of one side of the body. Symptoms may include:
- pain, burning, numbness or tingling;
- hypersensitivity to touch;
- a red rash that starts a few days after the pain;
- fluid-filled blisters that often burst;
In addition, some people have:
- constant fatigue.
As a rule, pain is the first symptom of herpes zoster. In some cases it is intense. Depending on its location, it can be mistaken for problems with the heart, lungs and kidneys. Some patients experience pain despite not having a rash.