What is shingles?
Herpes Zoster (or Shingles) is a viral infection characterized by a painful rash. Shingles can appear anywhere on the body, but most often as a grouping blisters on one side of the body, which follows the distribution of the nerves that give sensation to the skin.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox, you’re carrying the shingles virus. This virus lies inactive near the spinal cord and brain and can reappear later as shingles. Luckily, there are effective vaccinations against shingles that can decrease the likelihood of developing this painful condition. Ask your primary care doctor if this may be right for you!
Shingles is not life-threatening but it is very painful, and in some cases can be urgent.
Symptoms of shingles include:
You’re at higher risk of developing shingles if you:
There is no cure for shingles, but antiviral drugs, like Zovirax and Valtrex, can speed healing and reduce complications. Your doctor may also prescribe pain-reducing drugs. Additionally, shingles can occasionally affect the face and eye, and needs to be evaluated quickly by a healthcare provider if these areas are affected.
Dermatology of Athens
Shingles can cause painful and unsightly blisters and lesions, it’s important you seek relief quickly if you suspect you may have this condition. We encourage you to call for an appointment and we will get you in to see one of our healthcare providers right away!