Shingles can occur in anyone who has had chickenpox, but they are more common in older adults and people with weakened immune systems. Other risk factors for developing shingles include stress, certain medical conditions, and taking medications that suppress the immune system.
Although shingles is not a life-threatening disease, it can be very painful. Vaccines can help reduce the risk of developing shingles. Early treatment can help shorten the duration of a shingles infection and reduce the risk of complications.
Shingles usually begin with a burning or tingling sensation on one side of the body, followed by the development of a rash. The rash consists of blisters that typically scab over within a week or two. The rash is usually accompanied by pain, which can be severe in some cases.
The first symptoms of shingles can be listed as follows:
- Burning and tingling in the rash area
- Itching and stinging sensation
- Regional sensitivity
- Numbness in the affected area of the body
- Sensitivity to light
- High fever and accompanying headache
- Feeling of burnout
The diagnosis of shingles is usually made by the individual complaining of pain on one side of their body, along with the observed rash and blisters. In some cases, a sample of tissue or fluid may also be taken by the doctor for examination in the laboratory.
Early diagnosis and treatment are of great importance with shingles. Intervention in the first 96 hours after the onset of the rash helps to relieve symptoms in a timely manner. Antiviral drugs are used in the treatment of viral shingles. Pain and burning can be controlled with painkillers and cream lotions.
Slowly bursting bubbles dry up over time and begin to crust. Strengthening the immune system with supplements such as multivitamins is of great importance in the treatment of shingles. Maintaining a healthy and balanced life, away from stress as much as possible, also greatly helps to reduce the effects of shingles. If the pain continues to be severe, different treatment methods such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants and acupuncture can be used.
The healing process of the disease may vary according to the patient's age. Therefore, it would be best to draw up an individual treatment plan under the supervision of a dermatologist. At the same time, rest and a healthy lifestyle will greatly benefit the recovery from shingles.
Things to Consider in the Treatment of Shingles
The recommendations to be considered during the treatment of shingles can be listed as follows:
- Try to keep the rash and wound area dry and clean.
- If possible, cover the rash area to avoid spreading the virus to others. Make sure that the covering process does not stick to the skin.
- Do not use antibiotic creams on the blisters, as this can slow the healing process.
- Do not scratch the reddened sensitive area and do not scratch it with your nails. Scratching can cause blisters to spread, infection, and scarring.
- Dry the wound area with a clean towel after a bath or shower. Do not rub the wound with a towel or use it to scratch yourself.
- Do not share your personal towel with others.
- Prefer cotton clothes.
- A cold application and shower can be relaxing during this process. Do not touch the ice pack you use for cold application directly to the area where the wound has developed. Wrap it in a cloth or towel and gently place it over the wound area.
- Avoid contact with high-risk individuals, such as individuals who have not been vaccinated against chickenpox, pregnant women who are not immune, those with compromised immune systems, and infants less than one month old.
- Do not share your clothes.
- Do not do contact sports.
- Wash your hands frequently.
Is Shingles Contagious?
A person with shingles can transmit the shingles virus to anyone who is not immune to chickenpox. Transmission usually occurs as a result of direct contact with the open sores of the shingles rash. The infected person develops chickenpox.
Chickenpox can be dangerous for some people. You can contract the disease until your shingles blisters have crusted over, and you should avoid physical contact with people who have not yet had chickenpox or have not been vaccinated against chickenpox, especially people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, and newborns.