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Doctor insights on: Shingles

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What is shingles?

What is shingles?

Herpes zoster: Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is an infection caused by the chicken pox virus. Those who had chicken pox previously recovered from the disease, but never got rid of the virus where it was dormant until the shingles outbreak. Treatments (and a vaccine) are available; see your doctor for more information. ...Read more

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Shingles (Herpes Zoster) (Definition)

Shingles is a painful blistering skin rash caused by the chickenpox virus (varicella zoster). Early treatment with antiviral medication (within 72 hours) lowers the risk of post herpetic neuralgia, which is lingering skin pain after the rash disappears. ...Read more


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What are the symptoms of shingles?

Painful rash: It is a one sided rash usually in a band or belt - like distribution. There is usually pain or some kind of unpleasant sensation such as tingling or burning. The pain may come before the rash. The rash will usually form into many small blisters. It can also be on the face or arm. See your doctor right away for an antiviral medication to prevent post herpetic neuralgia which is very painful. ...Read more

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What is the most effective treatment for shingles?

What is the most effective treatment for shingles?

Acute ot chronic?: If acute shingles, starting anti-viral therapy such as Valtrex (valacyclovir) or Acyclovir may help. Corticostroids (prednisone) are used by some, but evidence behind this practice in 50/50. Nsaids for pain and maybe short course narcotic analgesic for severe pain. If post-herpetic neuralgia, many options are available, including gabapentin, pregabalin, Lidocaine patch, and other topicals. ...Read more

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Do symptoms of shingles go away quickly?

Do symptoms of shingles go away quickly?

Varies, but get help: Symptoms need to be treated aggressively so they do not last forever. The greater the severity and duration of the rash, the more like you are to have postherpetic neuralgia (phn). Also, the older you are when you have shingles, the more likely you are to have phn. See a board certified pain specialist for help to feel better sooner. Don't accept that you just have to wait for it to "go away.". ...Read more

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What are the beginning signs of shingles?

Shingles symptoms: Early symptoms of shingles include headache, sensitivity to light, and flu-like symptoms without a fever. You may then feel itching, tingling, or pain where a band, strip, or small area of rash may appear several days or weeks later. A rash can appear anywhere on the body but will be on only one side of the body, the left or right. The rash will first form blisters, then scab over. ...Read more

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Can shingles be prevented?

Not completely: Shingles is a reactivation of the virus that causes chicken pox. There is a vaccine for shingles (zostavax). It doesn't prevent shingles completely, but may cause it to be milder, and reduce the amount of pain after the rash. ...Read more

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Dr. Heidi Fowler
790 doctors shared insights

Herpes Zoster (Definition)

Shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful, blistering skin rash due to the varicella-zoster virus, the ...Read more