What is Herpes Zoster and How Does it Differ from Genital and Oral Herpes?

Herpes Zoster is known as shingles. This is a viral infection in the roots of the nerves. Herpes Zoster is very painful and causes a rash. The rash will appear on only one side of the body either the right or the left. This rash will develop in a strip or small area. Those with weakened immune systems and elderly are more likely to develop shingles. These individuals are more prone to shingles because of stress, injury, medications taken and various other reasons. Herpes Zoster is a strain of Herpes that is not sexually transmitted. Each caused by two different organisms. Only those who have had chickenpox in the past are susceptible to Herpes Zoster.

What Causes Shingles?

Shingles is caused by the virus that is responsible for chickenpox. Once a person has had chickenpox, the contributing virus remains dormant in the roots of the nerves. This virus may never show up again. In some, it will lie dormant until it is triggered by stress, aging, weakened immune system and other factors. There is no real definitive reason why it occurs in some and not in others. After the virus reactivates, it can only spur shingles to develop and never chickenpox.

It is not possible to contract shingles from someone who has the virus. However, chickenpox can be spread to others who have never had them or to those who have never received the vaccine against chickenpox.

Symptoms of Shingles

Symptoms of shingles occur in various stages. A person may have a headache in the beginning stages or become very sensitive to degrees of light. These people may also feel as if they have the flu without a presence of a fever. Later, the person will feel itching, pain or tingling in a particular area. Later, usually in a few days, a rash develops and transform into clusters of blisters. These blisters are fluid filled and will form a crust and will heal in 3 to 4 weeks with some possibility of scarring.

There is a possibility that those with shingles experience a bit of weakness, dizziness, pain or facial rash for a long period of time. Others may have changes in vision and thought processes. A small number could have a rash that spreads.

Treatment of Shingles

Shingles are incurable. Treatment will help to prevent other problems and manage symptoms associated with the infection. Anyone with shingles or that thinks that they may have shingles should seek the advice of their physician. Treatment may include anti-viral medicines as well as pain medications, anti-depressants and skin creams. Consistent treatment is the best way to combat the symptoms associated with Herpes Zoster or Shingles.

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