What is shingles? Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella – zoster virus. This virus can remain inactive in your body for years and only come out causing a problem when you come into contact with the virus. Since it is possible to have shingles without having been exposed to the chicken pox virus, the question remains as to what causes them.
Shingles is characterized by red rashes that appear around the face, on the top of the head, or on the trunk. These rashes are accompanied by severe pain that can last for days. Some people report that they are not able to sleep properly during an outbreak, and others notice that their pain and discomfort increases during the night. A doctor can diagnose internal shingles by looking at pictures of the affected area.
It is important to note that the symptoms of shingles may be confused with other conditions. They can, however, be symptoms of other diseases or disorders. In most cases, the diagnosis will depend on the appearance and location of the rash, the timing of the symptoms occurring, and the person’s response to treatment. Knowing what to look for and what risk factors you might be at risk for will help you determine whether you need to seek treatment or whether the rash is something that will heal on its own.
The most common symptoms of shingles are the appearance of a rash that appears on the face, ears, or neck. These areas are most prone to experiencing this type of complication. You may also experience pain in these areas, although it is not as severe as the pain experienced by those who have severe cases of this disease. In most cases, the pain will subside once your body begins to heal the complications. While medication can relieve the symptoms, there is no cure for the virus or bacteria that causes it.
If you notice these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your primary care provider. Your primary care provider will conduct an evaluation to determine if you have any of the risk factors associated with shingles. It is possible that your symptoms will require treatment, but in many cases, you will not. You may require a prescription for medication, but this may be a few months away. If you are experiencing painful skin rash symptoms, however, you will probably be seen by a doctor in less than two weeks.
Shingles is not contagious, but it can be triggered by the same conditions that cause chicken pox. The incubation period for shingles is between two and four weeks, so it is possible to have outbreaks up to five or six months after developing the condition. This period can seem like a very long time, but you are not at risk of developing shingles. The painful skin rash that occurs is simply part of the process.
If you develop the symptoms described above, the blistering rash may appear suddenly. Some people experience a headache when this happens, but others do not. Other symptoms of developing shingles include muscle aches, a general feeling of fatigue, and pain that is chronic, meaning that it occurs day and night. Your headache will be the worst during the morning hours when the virus first appears, but will subside as the day goes on.
The symptoms described above are what most people develop with shingles. However, other symptoms that are less common are more worrying. Many people develop a fever, painful skin symptoms such as itchiness and a rash, and swollen glands. If you have any of these symptoms, your doctor should be notified immediately, so that treatment can be started as soon as possible.