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Shingles Guide: Symptoms, Causes, and Effective Treatments for Young Adults

Dr.Ayushi Bansal 111 Views
Updated: 21 Jun 2024
Published: 21 Jun 2024

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection. It is a skin condition that appears like blisters and painful rashes in specific areas. When you experience a painful symptom, it is better to contact your doctor to reduce further complications. Early treatment may reduce the risk factors, and you don't have to be in pain for long. 

In this blog, we will discuss the symptoms of herpes zoster or shingles, as well as their causes, treatment, and prevention.

The Indicators: Symptoms of Shingles

Blister formation and pain are the predominant symptoms of shingles. Depending on the location, it can be intense and mistaken for a heart, kidney, or lung problem. For some people, no rashes will develop; they experience only pain.

The early symptoms are:

  • Tiredness
  • Stomach Upset
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sensitivity to light

The later symptoms are:

  • Painful rash
  • Itching and burning on your skin
  • Fluid-filled blisters

Shingles on your Face

If you see any of the above symptoms on your face, you must contact the doctor immediately. It may affect your eyesight or the nerves of your ear.

Shingles on Eye

Symptoms of shingles that could affect your eyes,

  • Vision is blurry
  • Light sensitivity
  • Redness on your white of the eyes
  • Pain in your eyes
  • Swelling in your eyes
  • Rash on your eyelids

Shingles on Buttocks

The symptoms can also appear on your but, and it further spreads to your legs.

Causes of Shingles: What Triggers this Infection?

Varicella-zoster virus causes herpes zoster or shingles. It is the virus that causes chickenpox. After the recovery from chickenpox, the virus becomes inactive and stays in the nerves of your spinal cord or brain. Years later, it gets activated and causes shingles.

The virus becoming active may be because of the following reasons.

Age: If you are above 50 or 60, then the chances of being affected with shingles are high.

Medications: Long-term usage of steroids or medicines used for organ transplantation may cause shingles.

Cancer Treatment: Chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which reduce your immunity, may cause shingles.

Stress: If you are under an extreme level of stress or depression.

Some Diseases: Diseases like HIV cancer that severely affect your immune system can cause shingles.

Stages of Herpes Zoster or Shingles

If you are affected by shingles, it will take 2 - 6 weeks for it to subside. It develops in three stages as described below.

Pre-Rash: This stage occurs 48 hours before getting a rash. It is also called the pre-eruptive stage. You will experience symptoms like headache, fever, mild pain all over your body, and sensitivity in your skin.

Eruptive: This is the worst part of shingles. You will get painful blisters on one side of your body. The fluid blisters burst and crust over. It lasts for 2 - 4 weeks. This stage is contagious until the burst blisters dry.

Chronic: If you are in the chronic stage, the pain lasts up to 4 weeks. You feel pain like someone is using pins and needles to touch you. In this stage, your nervous system may be affected.

Remediating Shingles: Diagnosis and Treatment

Doctors diagnose this based on your medical history, so with the help of an experienced phlebotomist send the sample of the fluid blister for testing. Based on the test result, your doctors start the treatment.

There is no cure for shingles, but doctors offer herpes zoster treatment by prescribing medicine to heal and relieve pain. Antiviral medicines help you from discomfort and stop your symptoms and pain. 

Postherpetic Neuralgia is pain that lasts after the rashes are gone. It can be prevented if early treatment is sought.

Shielding Against Shingles: Preventive Measures

A vaccine is the only way to prevent shingles. The (CDC) Centers for Disease Control recommends two doses of the shingles vaccine. It is recommended for those age 19 or above and those with poor immune systems due to sickness or treatment of sickness.

Doctors recommend a gap of 2 to 6 months between the first and second doses of the vaccine. If you are young, you can get the second dose from 1 - 2 months.

You can have the Herpes Zoster vaccine if you had

  • Shingles before because it might come back
  • Chickenpox before
  • Chickenpox vaccine

You cannot have the Herpes Zoster vaccine if you 

  • Are pregnant
  • Have shingles now
  • Are allergic to the vaccine

Key Takeaway

If you had chickenpox earlier, the chances of getting shingles are high when you are over 50. Your immune system tends to be compromised at this age, making it prone to the viral infection. The shingles vaccine can prevent it, and early herpes zoster treatment helps lessen the effects of shingles.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Is Shingles Contagious?

    Answer:- Yes, shingles are contagious. They can be spread to people who have not had chickenpox or have not been vaccinated.

  2. Can I leave Shingles untreated?

    Answer:- No, it must be treated early. Otherwise, the pain will remain longer, and many complications like losing eyesight, hearing issues, and even death can occur.

  3. How effective is the Shingles vaccine?

    Answer:- It is 97% effective on adults above 60 and 99% on young ones..

  4. Can I get Shingles even if I am vaccinated for chickenpox?

    Answer:- Yes, you should get the shingles vaccine even if you are vaccinated for chickenpox.

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