65 Vas. Pavlou, 166 73, Voula  +30 210 89.93.800  ssymeonidou@skinclinic4you.gr

pathiseis-dermatos

It is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Primary infection with the virus causes chickenpox. Once the disease subsides, the virus remains dormant in the ganglia (roots) of the nerves. Years later, the virus may be reactivated and cause s herpes zoster (shingles).

ΟAre herpes zoster and herpes simplex caused by the same virus?

No. They are different viruses that cause different diseases.

What are the symptoms of shingles?

It appears in the form of blisters along a dermatome (the course of the nerve) on one side of the body. Before the rash appears, people often have pain, itching or tingling in the area where it will develop. This may happen several days before the rash appears. Some people may also have headache, fever, photophobia (sensitivity to light), nausea and fatigue. The rash develops in groups. New blisters continue to form over a period of three to five days and gradually dry out and form crusts. The rash subsides in 2-4 weeks. There may also be permanent skin discoloration and scarring.

Who is more likely to get shingles?

People with weak immune system, such as the elderly, people with history of cancer or AIDS, transplant recipients or people taking immunosuppressive medications.

What are the possible complications of shingles?

The most common complication is postherpetic neuralgia. It is a permanent sensation of pain, burning or tingling in the area where the shingles appeared, which can last for a long time (months or even years). Sometimes it can significantly affect a person's quality of life.

Other, less common complications are pneumonia, encephalitis and depending on the initial location, loss of vision or hearing.

How do we treat shingles?

We use special antiviral drugs: acyclovir, valacyclovir and famciclovir. These drugs reduce the duration and severity of the rash as well as the sensation of pain. The risk of postherpetic neuralgia is also reduced. That's why it's important to start the treatment the soonest possible. We usually recommend taking them within the first three days after the rash appears. For pain control we use common or strong painkillers and in cases of very severe pain we give corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. Topically we administer compresses to help the blisters heal quickly and antibiotics to reduce the risk of infections with common germs (e.g. staph).

What should I be careful of when I have shingles?

In the early stages, blisters should be covered, because the disease is contagious. 

Avoid contact with immunocompromised individuals, those who have not had chickenpox or chickenpox vaccine, children under 18 months who have not yet been vaccinated for chickenpox and pregnant women.

Is there a vaccine for shingles?

There is a vaccine available for shingles, which is recommended for healthy adults >65 years..

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