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What causes shingles? – Rx 2 Go Pharmacy

Shingles is a viral infection that causes skin rashes and blisters. It is also called herpes zoster or varicella-zoster virus. The virus that causes shingle is the same virus that gives you chickenpox.

Shingle is highly contagious. The virus can easily spread to people who are not immune to chickenpox. So if you have had chickenpox before you can get shingles too. Shingles infection causes painful blisters which appear in band.

What causes shingles?

Shingle is caused by virus varicella-zoster virus. This virus belongs to the group of herpes virus. Herpes virus is responsible for cold sores and genital herpes.

Who get shingles?

Anyone who has chickenpox may develop shingles. The virus remains dormant in the nervous system of the body. It will become active only if triggered. Shingles is common especially in the following situations:

  • Aging

People who are older than 50 is at risk. Their immune system weakened as they grow old.

  • Disease

The risk of getting shingles is higher for those who have HIV and cancer.

  • Medication

Using steroid for longer time can increase the risk of shingles.

What are the symptoms of shingles?

Shingles affects only a small part of the body. It can appear anywhere in your body.  Most often it appears either on the right or the left side of your torso.  The symptoms include:

  • Pain- usually the first symptoms
  • Sensitive to light
  • Itching in the affected area
  • Rash
  • Stripe of blisters with fluid
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

The rash turns into painful blisters with fluid. The blisters take about 2-4 weeks to heal leaving some scars behind.

When to see a doctor?

Call your doctor if you experience the following:

  • You have rashes that is painful
  • There are rashes near your eye. Shingles can cause permanent damage to your eyes.
  • You are older than 50 years old.

How is shingles treated?

There is no cure for infections brought by herpes virus. If you think you have varicella-zoster virus see your doctor right away. Your doctor can prescribe medicines to help ease the pain and to reduce to risk of future complications.

Antiviral medicines such as Valacyclovir can control the spreading of the virus. Valacyclovir can only suppress the symptoms since there is no cure to the ailments. Your doctor may also recommend some anti-itch lotion and creams.