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Top tips for shingles pain management Special

By Tim Sandle     Mar 25, 2015 in Health
Shingles is a painful viral infection: more troublesome and itchy than chickenpox. For adults affected with the virus, the condition lasts on-and-off for a long-time. A top dermatologist has spoken with Digital Journal about dealing with the condition.
Herpes zoster is commonly referred to as shingles. It is is a viral disease characterized by a painful skin rash with blisters in a limited area on one side of the body (left or right), often in a stripe.
Daniela Kroshinsky, assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, explained the way the life-cycle of the virus works once someone has become infected: “Although the shingles rash usually clears in a few weeks, some people can experience pain, numbness, itching and tingling that can last months or even years.”
For most people, with good immune systems and who receive treatment shortly following the development of blisters, the lesions tend to heal, the pain ebbs away after 3 to 5 weeks, and the blisters disappear. However, shingles is a serious condition for those with weak or suppressed immune systems.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that around one million U.S. citizens suffer from shingles each year. Notably, the disease is more common in older adults.
5 year old boy with chicken pox.
5 year old boy with chicken pox.
By JonnyMccullagh
Dr. Kroshinsky went onto explain the common signs and symptoms of shingles. These include:
Developing an area of skin that burns, itches, and feels extremely sensitive: This reddened area occurs in a small region on one side of the body, The effect tends to last for up to three days.
A rash that begins as red spots. This progresses into groups of clear, painful blisters: The blisters can change to a yellow color or become bloody. Eventually the blisters form scabs and heal.
Flu-like symptoms: A fever can occur at the same time as the rash.
The rash can be accompanied by pain. The pain typically subsides as the blisters heal. This process can take up to three weeks.
To help relieve shingles pain and discomfort, Dr. Kroshinsky , who also works with the American Academy of Dermatology, provides the following advice:
It is important to consult a medical practitioner as soon as symptoms appear. An anti-viral medicine can be taken if it is taken within 72 hours of the rash appearing. Such medicines speed up the healing process.
Cool the rash using cool wet cloths.
Rub in calamine lotion to the rash and blisters. This can lead to secondary infections.
Rashes should be covered with bandages.
It is a good idea to wear loose, cotton clothing.
In terms of general advice, the medic adds: “If you suspect you have shingles, avoid contact with women who are pregnant and anyone who has not had chickenpox.”
To help explain the condition further, the American Academy of Dermatology has prepared a video about the disease.
More about Shingles, Dermatology, skin rash, chickenpox
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