Shingles: Causes, Treatment and Prevention

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Causes of Shingles

Shingles is caused by a kind of virus which also leads to chickenpox, named varicella zoster. Shingles is more common among older adults and people who have weakened immune systems.

If you have chickenpox and recover, the virus will become inactive in the nervous system near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, there is a chance for them to be reactivate and travel along nerve pathways to your skin, become Shingles, not chickenpox. In some people, it is dormant forever.

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It has not been figured out why the virus is reactivated at a later stage in life, but it may be because of weakened immune system caused by:

– being older

– being stressed

– taking medication

– having a specific condition such as HIV/AIDS

Even though it is actually not a life-threatening condition, Shingles can be so painful.

Treatments

Immediate treatment with medicines including antiviral medicines and medicines for pain can help diminish the infection, rapidly recover and reduce the risk of complications. The treatments may include:

– Painkilling medications

– Antiviral medications to stop the virus multiplying

– Covering the rash with clothing or a non-adherent dressing to avoid passing the virus to someone else who have not had chickenpox or vaccinated before.

It is rare for people to get the condition a second time since most people get it only once.

If you have Shingles, remember to avoid close contact with others who may be infected with chickenpox.

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Prevention

A vaccine you need to take in your childhood to hinder chickenpox called Varivax can help you prevent Shingles. It is also recommended for adults who have never had chickenpox, even though it is still possible for you to get chickenpox or Shingles. It can help lessen the chance of complications and reduce the seriousness of the disease.

You can take a vaccine named Zostavax, which is suitable for adults at 50 and older, to diminish the chance of developing Shingles. After vaccinated, in case that you have the condition, it may be milder and last for shorter time than usual. You will only need to have this vaccine once. However, it is only for a prevention strategy, not a way of treatment. It also does not guarantee that you will not have Shingles.

Self-care at home

If you think you may have Shingles, promptly call your doctor to be prescribed.

You also need to accomplish home remedies to contribute to a rapid recovery. They include:

– Take care of any skin sores plus keep them clean with mild soap and water,

– Do not scratch the skin where the rash is located. Use over-the-counter antihistamines and topical creams to relieve the itching,

– Wear loose clothing to avoid additional pain,

– Take a cool bath using cool, wet compresses on your blisters,

– Reduce your stress.

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