Shingles Treatment

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Stress Causes Of Shingles

Shingles Causes

By Allen Shawn on October 26, 2010

You may have heard of someone who has come down with shingles and wondered, what is shingles? The medical name for shingles is Herpes Zoster and it is a form of the herpes virus that originates with the childhood disease, chickenpox. The factors that cause the virus to be reactivated are not clear. We only know that the virus breaks out of nerve cell bodies and travels down the nerve to cause a viral infection of the skin in the vicinity of the nerve. It is possible that a lowered immunity may trigger the shingles outbreak. Illness, stress and trauma may also trigger herpes zoster.

The effects of shingles are typically more severe in older people, so it is important for elderly people to get the shingles vaccine. There is no maximum age for getting the herpes zoster vaccine. The herpes zoster infection starts out as reddish spots over an area of the body. These spots then turn into watery blisters. Eventually, they dry out and become crusty. The entire process normally takes a couple of weeks, but can take up to a couple of months. Herpes zoster runs along the nerves in order to reach the skin, causing intense pain as well as causing inflammation and nerve damage.

Many researchers believe herpes zoster is the result of a person getting older, their body going through changes, stress, and a weak immune system. This is because the majority of people diagnosed with shingles are over sixty and they have a low immune system. Most people break out with a rash due to shingles along their torso. It usually starts on the spine and works its way up. In most cases only one side of the body is affected by the virus. Because of the effects of aging in the body, an individual tends to have a weakened immune system; becoming more at risk to the development of illnesses, emotional or psychological stress, and side effects of certain medical treatments. This vulnerability to certain factors results into a decreased response of the virus-specific, cell-mediated immune system.

While shingles typically clears up on its own, doctors generally prescribe antiviral medications to help speed the course of the disease; in order to be effective, the drugs should be given within the first 24 hours of the appearance of symptoms. Corticosteroids may also be prescribed to help alleviate the pain of the blistering rash. Antiviral medication is often prescribed by doctors as treatment for shingles. It helps in pain reduction and minimizes the risk of further complications such as temporary blindness or infections. Some anti-inflammatory medications are also given for prolonged pain and continued swelling.

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