Shingle is a viral infection that often presents as a painful and localized rash. It is seldom fatal, but it can be extremely painful and in some rare cases it can leave a lasting impact on the body.
At first, shingles will present as a tingling or painful sensation on your skin. You may also have a headache and feeling unwell. A few days later, the tell-tale red rash will appear.
The rash can appear anywhere but is most often on your chest or stomach. Only occurring on one side of your body, it is blotchy in an appearance before eventually turning into fluid-filled blisters.
Other symptoms of shingles include:
- Burning, itchiness, or numbness
- Sensitivity to touch or light
The rash should heal within a few weeks, but it is possible to develop nerve pain that can last for years. If the rash is near the eye, it may result in vision loss.
Shingles are caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus. Once you’ve had chickenpox, the virus can lay dormant in your nerve cells for decades before reactivating as shingles. No matter how long ago you had chickenpox, you’re at risk of it re-emerging in your later years as shingles.
No one knows why the virus goes dormant or why it reactivates in some and not in others. Studies have shown that those who are older in age and/or have a compromised immune system are at higher risk for shingles. High-stress levels can also be a contributing factor.
Like chickenpox, there is no cure for shingles so any treatment is aimed at managing the symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to reduce discomfort and prevent serious complications. Painkillers and creams for the rash can also be prescribed.
The best way to prevent shingles is by getting the shingles vaccine. Because shingles can occur more than once, it is advisable to get the vaccine even if you’ve had shingles before.
Touchwood Pharmacy offers shingles vaccination at its vaccination center in Northampton. You can also get the shingles vaccination in Sydenham and Ramsgate. To book your appointment online, visit Touchwood Pharmacy. https://www.touchwoodpharmacy.com/