Shingle is an infectious disease caused by the same virus as chickenpox. Common symptoms are pain and blisters on the skin, which often sit like a belt on one side of the body. You may be in pain for a long time. You can only get shingles if you have had chickenpox before. However, you can’t get infected with shingles by meeting someone with chickenpox.

Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. This also applies to children, but it is unusual. It is most common to get shingles if you are over 50 years old.

You can get shingles more than once, but even that is unusual.

Symptoms of shingles

Common symptoms of shingles are

  • burning pain on the skin
  • fluid-filled blisters
  • fever
  • headache
  • fatigue and dizziness.

You often first feel burning pain or tingling in an area of ​​the skin. The skin may become sensitive to touch. You can also get tired, dizzy, get light fever and headaches before any rashes appear.

After one to three days you often get redness in the area where you have been hurt. Then you get blisters that are clear first but darken gradually. The blisters usually itch. You can get blisters anywhere on the body, but they usually sit within an area. Most often, they sit on one side of the body, like a belt or belt.

Shingles usually heal by themselves. The blisters usually dry and disappear within one to two weeks. The wounds fall off a week later.

Children who get shingles get the same type of rash as adults but the pains tend to be milder.

You can get shingles at the eye

Shingles can sometimes settle on the eye. Then the eye may turn red and feel dry. You may become sensitive to light and look blurred or double. You can also get paid, which can be strong. Even the eyelid can become swollen.

The pain usually goes away

The pain on the skin where the blisters sit usually disappears within a few months. The pain can sometimes remain for a long time. Especially with you who are older.

When and where should I seek care?

You do not need to seek care if you are under 50 and have mild discomfort. Then most of the hassle goes away by itself. 

If  you have symptoms that may be due to shingles, and are over 50 or have one or more of the following problems, contact a health center or an on-call clinic :

  • You have an impaired immune system.
  • You’re in a lot of pain.
  • You feel very ill.
  • It hurts or you have a rash near your eyes. 

If closed, you can wait until the on-call reception or medical center open.

It is important to seek care as soon as possible at a health center or on-call clinic if you think you have received shingles. For treatment with antiviral drugs to help, it must be started within three days of the rash starting to appear.

If you get shingles near the eye, you should have the eye examined by an ophthalmologist, as the cornea of ​​the eye can be damaged.

You can seek care at any healthcare center you want throughout the country. You also have the opportunity to have a regular doctor’s contact at the health center. On some receptions, you can log in.

If closed, you can wait until the on-call reception or medical center open.

So shingles are infected

Shingles are caused by the same virus as chickenpox. Once you’ve had chickenpox, the virus stays in your body for the rest of your life. The virus can become active again and you will get shingles. One reason maybe if you have impaired immune systems, but most people who get shingles are completely healthy otherwise.

Shingles can cause chickenpox

You can’t get shingles from meeting a person with chickenpox. However, you who have shingles can infect a person who has not had chickenpox before, so that the person gets chickenpox. The shingles blisters contain viruses and infectious disease until all the blisters have disappeared and are covered with wound crust.

Avoid meeting people with impaired immune systems

You who have shingles should avoid meeting people with severely impaired immune systems, as they can get very sick if they get chickenpox. Also, avoid meeting pregnant women who have not had chickenpox.

You can vaccinate yourself against shingles

There is a shingles vaccine that you can take if you are over 50 and have a functioning immune system. The vaccine contains live attenuated virus and is taken at one point in the form of a syringe. You have to pay for the vaccine yourself.

If you are over 60, the risk of having shingles is reduced by about half if you are vaccinated. Above all, the vaccine reduces the risk that you will suffer prolonged pain if you still get shingles.

The protection afforded by the vaccine decreases over time.

What can I do for myself?

You can use non-prescription medicines for pain and itching. 

Prescription-free drugs for the pain

You can use non-prescription medicines containing paracetamol for the pain. For example, Clevedon or Panadol. They are available to buy prescriptions at pharmacies.

Keep your skin clean

Wash the skin with soap and water at least once a day. Keeping your skin clean can prevent bacteria from getting into the shingles, causing them to become infected. It can easily happen if you itch a lot.

Relieve the itching

You can relieve the itching with

  • calamine lotion
  • also, sprit
  • cool water.

Cooling balm and spirits can be bought at a pharmacy without a prescription. Coldwater can also feel cool and comfortable on the skin.

Treatment for shingles

You can contact a health care center if the non-prescription pain medication does not help.

Drugs on prescription for the pain

You can get prescription drugs for pain if the prescription alternatives do not help. The pain is primarily treated with analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Antiviral treatment for shingles

If you have a reduced immune system or are over 50, you are often treated with drugs that inhibit the virus. For the treatment to have a good effect, it should be started within three days after the rash begins to appear. You will then be given tablets that you take for a week.

Surveys

It can be difficult to decide for yourself if you have had shingles. Doctors usually see if you have shingles, just by looking at the rash. You usually need to take some samples or do other investigations.

If you have a rash on your face, check the eye with an eye microscope to see if the cornea is damaged. Especially if the rash is sitting on an eyelid or nose tip.

Complications

The most common complication is that the pain does not disappear within three months. About one in ten people who suffer from shingles suffer prolonged pain, which can be difficult to treat. It is more common that this happens if you are older.

If you get shingles on the eye, the pain can be intense and troublesome. Should you get corneal inflammation, scars can form. It can cause visual impairment, depending on where the scar is located.

You who have an impaired immune system can get a more troublesome form of shingles and may sometimes need hospital care.

Pregnancy and shingles

It is unusual for you to get shingles as a pregnant woman. Should you still get it, the symptoms are the same as in someone who is not pregnant. If you get shingles when you are pregnant, you have had chickenpox before. Then the baby in the stomach has been given antibodies to chickenpox via the placenta and does not get sick.

You who are pregnant and have not had chickenpox before should avoid meeting people with shingles. You can get infected with chickenpox, although it is unusual. Should you get chickenpox, the risk of birth defects is very small. However, if you get chickenpox during the end of pregnancy, the baby can be born with chickenpox and become very ill.

Ehtisham Nadeem

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