The Burning Pain of Shingles
It’s well-known that once you’ve had chickenpox, you can’t get it again. What’s not as well-known, however, is that the virus that causes chickenpox, varicella-zoster, lies dormant in your nervous system for the rest of your life. The virus can then reactivate years later as shingles, often without warning.
The first sign that you may be suffering from shingles is an intense pain, often associated with a burning sensation, on one side of your abdomen. This pain will then be followed by a red rash and fluid-filled blisters a few days later. This rash is generally an individual strip down your side. Rarely, you may also experience a fever, headaches and fatigue. Although shingles is not life-threatening, dangerous complications are possible. If the pain from shingles lasts long after the rash has disappeared, the rash and blisters are in or around your eye or if you notice any facial paralysis, hearing problems or balance problems, you should see a doctor immediately.
Shingles is contagious, but only to those who have never had chickenpox. If they come in contact with someone suffering from shingles, they can catch the varicella-zoster virus and develop chickenpox. As long as your shingles rash is forming new blisters, you are contagious.
Most cases of shingles occur in people over 50 years of age, but there are other factors that can put you at greater risk. If you have any diseases that weaken your immune system, take medication that weakens your immune system, receive treatment for cancer or are taking a steroid regimen, you are more likely to develop shingles.
Currently, there is no cure for shingles. However, the use of antiviral drugs, if issued quickly after the appearance of symptoms, can help heal the rash more quickly and reduce your risk of complications.
If you need more serious help with skin issues or something else that is troubling your skin, we are here to help. Skin health is an important part of total body wellness. Schedule an appointment today with one of our board certified physicians to get your skin the care it needs so it can reach its fullest, healthiest potential.
Contact Knoxville Dermatology Group at 865.690.9467.