Shingles, or Herpes Zoster, is an acute infection associated with the reactivation of the Varicella Zoster Virus (also known as chickenpox). It usually appears as a painful rash that presents as a band on the skin. Although it can present on people of all ages, it is more common among individuals fifty and older.
Shingles commonly starts with sensations of itching, burning, pain, or tingling on the skin, that occur a couple of days before the typical blistery shingles rash appears. Some people may also experience a fever, a headache, or simply feel sick, hours before the beginning of the rash.
The viral infection that causes shingles is contagious, and a person who has never been vaccinated or has never had chickenpox, can get infected from a person with shingles.
Approximately 10% of patients with shingles, go on to develop “post-herpetic neuralgia” or “PHN”, which may produce a feeling of pain or discomfort, even long after the rash has resolved, causing in some severe cases sleeping problems, weight loss, or depression.
Fortunately, there is a vaccine that can reduce the risk of getting shingles, or the severity of its symptoms should shingles occur.
If you think that you may be experiencing a shingles infection, please consult your Florida Skin Center provider as soon as possible, since prompt treatment is essential for a quick resolution of the painful symptoms of the Herpes Zoster Virus.