What can I do about Shingles?

by | Ask The Intern

What you need to know about your Shingles

Shingles, also known as zoster, is a common skin problem caused by a virus. You may find that telemedicine works well for your shingles treatment. Usually, shingles is recurrent and you may realize that the skin sensation (tingling, pain) and rash are similar to prior episodes. In many cases treatment can be accomplished by telemedicine. Consider uploading photos of your rash prior to a telemedicine appointment. Some shingles cases will need referral or in person care. Examples are singles of the face or eye.

What are the symptoms of Shingles?

The signs and symptoms of shingles include:

  • Pain and tingling that may start before the rash
  • Rash that may look similar to chicken pox (rash with raised fluid filled areas)
  • Single stripe around either the left or the right side of the body (most common)
  • Rash occurs on one side of the face (serious, can affect the eye and cause vision loss)
  • Rash more widespread (rare, usually in people with weak immune systems)

How did I get Shingles?

Shingles, is a viral condition caused by reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus. After recovering from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in your body. The virus can reactivate later, causing shingles.  Herpes zoster typically occurs in adults or elderly.

How can I get well fast?

Doctors treat your shingles with antiviral medications when it is determined to be necessary. The earlier you identify a case of zoster the better, since the antiviral medications can shorten the length of time the condition lasts.  After a careful history and examination of your skin, the diagnosis can usually be made. Quite often good uploaded photos can help the Doctor treat you by telemedicine.  Treatment such as antivirals should be started as soon as possible after the diagnosis. Shingles is contagious and good hand washing with soap and water is helpful to reduce transmission. Telemedicine be a good way to follow along with you over a few days and see how it goes.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441824/

https://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/index.html

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