This viral infection is characterized by a red skin rash that usually causes pain and burning – Shingles

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Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. This viral infection is characterized by a red skin rash that usually causes pain and burning and appears as a stripe of blisters on one side of the body, typically on the torso, neck, or face. It is highly contagious. 


Pain and burning 

Red rash usually follows the pain include:

Red patches

Fluid-filled blisters that break easily

Rash that wraps around from the spine to the torso

Rash on the face and ears






Muscle weakness

Vulnerable group

People who have had chickenpox previously, some factors that increase the risk are:

Age: being 60 or older

Chickenpox before the age of 1

Diseases that weaken the immune system, such as HIV, AIDS, or cancer

Chemotherapy or radiation treatment

Drugs that weaken the immune system, such as steroids or medications given after an organ transplant.


Physical examination of rashes and blisters and asking questions about your medical history.

Test a sample of your skin or the fluid from your blisters. This involves using a sterile swab to collect a sample of tissue or fluid o confirm the presence of the virus.


There is no permanent cure for shingles, but medication may be prescribed to ease symptoms and shorten the length of the infection:

Anti-viral medications to reduce pain and speed recovery, including acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir

Anti-inflammation drugs to ease pain and swelling

Narcotic medications or analgesics to reduce pain

Anticonvulsants or tricyclic antidepressants to treat prolonged pain

Antihistamines to treat itching, such as Benadryl

Numbing creams, gels, or patches to reduce pain, such as lidocaine

Zostrix cream, which can help reduce the risk of a nerve pain called “postherpetic neuralgia” that occurs after recovery from shingles.


Applying cold, wet compresses to the rash to reduce pain

Applying calamine lotion to reduce itching

Taking colloidal oatmeal baths to ease pain and itching

Shingles typically clears up within a few weeks and rarely recurs.


Vaccines help to keep you from developing severe shingles symptoms or complications from shingles. 

All children should receive a chickenpox vaccine

Adults who have never had chickenpox should also get this vaccine. 

Adults who are age 60 or older should get a shingles vaccine, also known as the varicella-zoster immunization.

Shingles is contagious. If you become infected, certain steps must be taken to prevent the spread of the infection.

Keeping your skin clean

Avoiding contact with people who have not had chickenpox or who have weakened immune systems

Washing any items you touch with boiling water to kill the virus


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