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Shingles in adults

Shingles is a disease which is the causative agent the herpes virus. It affects not only the skin but also the nervous system. Shingles and chicken pox have a common etiology and pathogenesis. Modern medicine considers shingles to infectious diseases, which have a high infectivity, as triggered by the herpes virus. The disease is characterized by the classic triad:

  • Symptoms similar to infectious diseases;
  • Cutaneous manifestations characteristic of herpetic infection;
  • Symptoms of the nervous system, peripheral and Central.

Available statistics indicate that herpes zoster will occur in every fourth man who had a history of chickenpox. Moreover, the disease will move into the active stage upon reaching the 50 years. It is in this age group most often diagnosed shingles. Sexual differences between sick no.

In addition, the recent increase in the occurrence of herpes zoster in young and Mature age. Scientists explain this fact unfavorable environmental conditions in cities, weakening people's immune systems, high susceptibility to infectious and viral diseases. Shingles often accompanies patients with cancer, the number of which is growing steadily. Most often it appears in people who have undergone radiation or chemotherapy.

It is known that the majority of people in the children had chickenpox, which means that the herpes virus that triggers tinea versicolor, exists in their body. In this regard, the risk of reactivation for each person on the planet is about 10%.

The content of the article:

Symptoms of herpes zoster

Symptoms of herpes zoster impossible not to notice. The clinical picture is characterized by acute onset, with severe pain and a strong burning sensation in the site of the lesion.

The disease affects the human body most often on one side.

Areas of localization of herpes zoster may be:

  • Genitals;
  • Buttocks:
  • The lower and upper extremities;
  • Intercostal areas;
  • The face (part of the Trinity in the course of the nerve);
  • Lower jaw;
  • The back of the head;
  • Forehead;
  • Neck.

If shingles affects the facial part, the rash will be located in the course of the Trinity, or the facial nerve. If the defeat of the exposed area of the body, the rash will be located during spinal nerves. This fact is due to the high concentration of the virus in the nerve nodes, 11 pairs of cranial nerves in the posterior horns in each half of the spinal cord. Therefore, cutaneous manifestations are localized in the course of the involved nerve.

Experts distinguish three periods, each of which correspond to their symptoms of herpes zoster:

Onset of the disease

This period is called the prodromal. He is accompanied by General malaise, psychological and Autonomous nervous system (neurological) pain, which may have different intensity. The duration of the initial period can range from 48 hours to 4 days.

In parallel, the patient has the following symptoms:

  • A feeling of weakness;
  • Headaches;
  • The increase in body temperature to subfebrile marks (fever is very rare, but is the place to be);
  • Chills;
  • Dysfunction of the digestive tract and related dyspeptic disorders;
  • Pain, burning, itching, a marked tingling in the area of the part of the body or face, where later there will be a rash;
  • With the growth of the symptoms is swelling of the lymph nodes, they become painful and stiff to the touch;
  • Disturbance of the emptying of the bladder is observed with severe disease.

When the body temperature drops caused by the symptoms of intoxication greatly diminished.

Period rashes

The next stage of the disease is characterized by the appearance of rashes on the skin. Their intensity and the amount depends on the severity of herpes zoster. Rashes look like small spots, the size of which does not exceed 0.5 mm. They are lesions, are pink. Between them are areas of intact skin.

  • If the disease has a classic clinical course, the place emerged a day later lesions appear vesicles. They are filled with serous contents: colorless and transparent. After 1 day, the liquid that is inside the bubbles, turbid.
  • If herpes zoster is severe, the inside of the vesicles can be seen, the liquid mixed with blood, and they will have a black color. Rash characteristic of herpes zoster similar undulating course with the rash that appear varicella. That is, with a period of a few days there will be new vesicles on one, then on another place. The rash gradually encircle the body, hence the name of the disease.
  • If shingles occurs in mild form, the user may see only skin nodules without subsequent formation of pustules. Or a person may only experience pain along the nerves, and the lesions will not.

In relation to smear clinical manifestations of the disease, it is important to put the correct diagnosis, differentiated shingles in the form of light from intercostal neuralgia, osteochondrosis and pain in the heart.

The period of the formation of crusts

After two weeks (a maximum of 1.5 weeks), in the place where previously was a rash, formation of scabs from yellow to brown. Places where the vesicles lose their rich color. Gradually the crust fall away with them, after which stay on the skin areas of pigmentation.

Pain in shingles

Man always suffers from severe pain that occur even from a slight touch to the skin. This is because the virus is localized in nerve cells, disrupting their work and many times increasing the sensitivity of nerve endings. Pain the person is experiencing, you can compare with burn pain. They are especially aggravated by water on the affected areas. In this regard, scientists still have not come to a decision whether or not to take a bath with shingles.

Some doctors are of the opinion that water treatments are best avoided, while others believe that well help bath with the addition of them in sea salt, and still others recommend taking showers only, after which the body simplywet.

Describing the nature of pain, patients indicate that they may be dull, burning or verssimo, some people compare them to the passage on the affected area of the electric current. The pain tends to increase after a slight mechanical or thermal effects. They can continue to bother the person even after the rash is completely fine. This happens about 15% of all ill with the shingles.

The reason for the residual pain is that the virus destroyed tissue nerves, and to restore them will take some time. Most often postherpetic neuralgia in the elderly may persist for several months, and the young people takes place after a maximum of 10 days after the disappearance of the rash.

Causes of herpes zoster

It is known that tinea versicolor is caused by a virus varicella zoster, it is triggered by varicella. However, these two diseases are radically different from each other by the symptoms and course of the inflammation.

Once a refresher of chickenpox in childhood should not assume that the virus been defeated the immune system completely. He just goes in a latent state exists in the body in dormant state. The place of its localization – cranial nerves and ganglia. The virus may be in a depressed state for many years, as long as the human immune system controls its reproduction and produces antibodies against it to the extent necessary.

When a certain part of the immune system crashes, virus zoster again aktiviziruyutsya, but he is not causes chicken pox and shingles. Therefore, the agreement that had been ill with chicken pox one more with this disease will not face never is incorrect. Can't happen recurring infection, as the virus is already in the body, but to worsen the disease can with high probability, it will only leak as shingles.

Experts identify the following causes of herpes zoster:

  1. Old age. Having reached this milestone in 50-60 years, raises a person risk of developing the disease by 7 times in comparison with young people. With complaints of symptoms of herpes zoster doctors treat the approximately 5% of pensioners. The explanation for this fact is very simple, because in old age there is a natural decline in immunity, decreases the level of endorphins, the deteriorating process of assimilation of vitamins and minerals. The peak of appeals falls onthe autumn and spring.

  2. At a young age develop shingles because of irregularities in the immune system.

    These include:

    • Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs;
    • Autoimmune disorders, failure of immune system;
    • Cancer having malignant nature;

    • The passage of chemotherapy or radiation therapy;
    • HIV;
    • Diabetes mellitus;
    • Transplantation of organs or bone marrow;
    • Received severe injuries;
  3. Chronic diseases such as: hepatitis, cirrhosis, kidney and heart failure, tuberculosis.

  4. Taking certain medicinal drugs, e.g., immunosuppressive agents (cytostatics, glucocorticosteroid hormones).

  5. Infection chickenpox in adulthood. Although rare, but people have become ill with chicken pox after a period of childhood can simultaneously show symptoms characteristic of herpes zoster.

  6. The increase in the number of zoster virus in the body. Because the disease is transmitted by airborne droplets or by contact, then the additional interaction with the virus, in people with disorders in the immune system may experience symptoms of herpes zoster.

  7. Severe neurological and infectious diseases, hypothermia, stress, physical exhaustion – all of which are aggravating factors for the manifestation of symptoms.

  8. Outbreaks of varicella in children's collective often occur because of tight interaction between the child and the adult with shingles.

How dangerous is shingles? Consequences and complications

At a young age, people are faced with shingles often will not feel any consequences or complications of the disease. It will be completed for patient's complete recovery and disappearance of all symptoms.

However, if the functioning of the immune system is disturbed, it may develop serious health problems:

  • The disease can affect the work of the spinal cord and brain as the virus has the ability to actively theremultiply. If there is a transition to brain tissue, they are destroyed, which can lead to paralysis of lower and upper limbs, paralysis of the facial nerve. In addition, there is a threat of respiratory failure and the death of the patient.
  • If the virus affects the organs of vision, may develop optic neuritis. It threatens the formation of glaucoma, lesions of the cornea and complete blindness of the patient.
  • Meningoencephalitis is another possible complication of herpes zoster. If the patient as a result of meningoencephalitis does not die, he is incapacitated.
  • There is a likelihood of disruption of the functioning of the duodenum, abdominal muscles, urinary system (the urinary sphincter), lung (accession pneumonia).
  • If the disease is accompanied by the accession of a bacterial infection, the condition of the person worsens, and the healing process is significantly delayed.

Usually, complications only arise in people with weakened immune systems. If the disease occurs in mild form, it threatens to relapse passes quickly.

Diagnosis of herpes zoster

To make a correct diagnosis, the doctor often enough examination of the patient and clarify his complaints.

To clarify the diagnosis may require additional tests: a blood test for antibodies, the implementation of PCR diagnosis, cultures of the virus. Typically, such methods are necessary to confirm the diagnosis in a greased form of the disease and differentiate shingles from similar symptoms of disease.

Answers to popular questions:

  • Is there any shingles? The herpes virus is highly contagious but shingles is transmitted only in a few cases. Most often the disease is diagnosed in the spring and autumn period.

    If the person has already had chickenpox, the likelihood of re-infection and progression to disease after interaction with the patient of chickenpox is not great. However, as demonstrated by modern medical practice, a growing number of people suffer from disorders in the immune system. This is due to the adverse environment, with an abundance of unhealthy products in the daily menu, with the presence of multiple contaminants in air and water.

    In addition, a small number of people have not developed a strong immunity to infections transferred once, so when you contact witha person who shingles may occur re-infection. So, the answer to the question is shingles contagious - positive. You can get it.

    Thus it is useful to consider the following facts:

    1. The disease is transmitted from an infected organism to children and adults who have previously with this virus is not encountered.

    2. If the person already had chickenpox in the past and at the time of re-contact with the infection, is in good health, infection will not occur.

    3. The child's contact with a person who shingles, leads to the development of his chicken pox. (see also: Causes, symptoms, types and diagnosis of varicella)

    4. Due to the fact that most people have the zoster virus in the body is dormant, the risk of herpes zoster is available to every person.

    5. The disease is contagious until the time, until the body of the patient have new bubbles. When they are opened and covered with a crust, the virus poses no threat in terms of contamination.

  • How long can persist pain after herpes zoster? The virus that causes herpes zoster disrupts the functioning of nerve cells. They become more sensitive to any external influences and respond in the human brain, severe pains, similar to a burn.

    According to available data, up to 14% of people after an apparent recovery, continue to suffer pain in those body parts that have been subject to defeat. These feelings do not indicate that the infection continues to progress. They only show that was disrupted nerve fiber for the reason for their defeat the virus. Such a condition doctors call postherpetic neuralgia or neuropathy.

    Pain does not always occur after tactile contact or after interaction with water, they can appear by themselves.

    Found that at a younger age shingles after the extinction of the inflammation may recall his pain for several weeks. Rarely they last over a month. When the disease strikes a person after the age of 50 years, the pain can persist up to several months. If the man had shingles after the age of 70 years, the neuralgia can chase it for a year or more.

  • Is it possible to bathe in shingles? To wash duringdisease you can, but shouldn't do too often. The best option is taking a shower, after which it is not necessary to RUB the body with a towel. The skin will be quite dry.

  • Can shingles recur? Yes, the disease can be repeated.

  • How dangerous is shingles in pregnancy? The virus that causes shingles can pass through the placenta. It's another way of Contracting the disease. It is known that during pregnancy, the immune system women suffering. The fall of protective forces can cause activation of the Zoster virus which was in the body in a depressed condition or an increased risk of primary infection.

    It is especially dangerous when the activation of the virus goes unnoticed for most women, as specific symptoms may be absent.

    At this time, the virus penetrates the placenta and can cause the following harm to the health of the fetus:

    • The death of the child inside the womb of a woman and subsequent stillbirth, spontaneous abortion.
    • Damage to the nervous system of the child's brain. All this becomes a cause of disability, and can lead to loss of hearing, vision, cerebral palsy.
    • If a woman is not suffered chicken pox until the child's conception, that it does not have antibodies to the disease, which means she will not give their fruit. Infection of the baby in early childhood threatens the development of meningeal disorders.

In response to these serious threats to the health of the child, it is necessary to limit the contact a pregnant woman with people who have shingles or chickenpox. In addition, you should create the most favorable conditions in order for the immune system of the pregnant woman functioned in the proper amount.

Treatment of herpes zoster

If shingles does not cause any health problems, then to treat it does not make sense. The disease in a mild form spontaneously in an average two weeks.

However, the older a person is, or the worse functioning of his immune system, the higher the risk of complications. People like this need to undergo special treatment with antiviral drugs. If the treatment to give, you can develop serious health problems.

Regardless of the age of onset, treatment to the doctor if you have symptoms of shingles required. It canto recommend the admission of drugs such as: Acyclovir, Valacyclovir, Famciclovir, having antiaritmicheskoy activity. Take them either orally or administered in the form of injections. They promote early recovery of the skin and rapid getting rid of symptoms. Is not precisely determined whether antiviral therapy have any influence on the occurrence of pain after suffering herpes zoster.

The duration of the course will be determined by the doctor, most often it lasts from a week to 10 days.

Pain relief in the early treatment

Severe pain can occur even in the prodromal period of the disease, suffer them not to be, you need to seek medical assistance. The doctor can recommend ways to combat the virus, or analgesic drugs.

It is established that attempts to endure the pain without medication increase pain threshold in humans. In addition, you may experience chronic pain that will haunt a person not just months, and even years.

Therefore, the appointment should be as open as possible and to tell in detail about where the pain occurs and what is felt. Only through complete information about the patient, the doctor will be able to provide high-quality care.

So, if the pain is not too pronounced, you may be prompted receive weaker painkillers, such as Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, gel content of Lidocaine, Naproxen.

If the pain is bad enough, then you will need drugs such as: Oxycodone, Gabapentin, and others. Take them in combination with antiviral drug.

The pain left after shingles

Known cases when after full recovery of the person continues to pursue severe pain. Attempts were made to endure only lead to the fact that dealing with them will be harder. In addition, constantly chasing the pain may become the cause of health problems.

Therefore, if you have residual pain, you need to consult a neurologist. The doctor will assess the patient's condition and will prescribe suitable treatment.

Modern drugs that are used at this point in time, the following:

  • Gabapentin.
  • Pregabalin.
  • Drugs from the group of tricyclic antidepressants (Amitriptyline).

Additional methods of pain treatment

As a subsidiary of the ways to combat the disease, the specialist may recommend the following methods:

  • The implementation of the closures, which enable to remove even the most intense pain. This requires injectingthe introduction of pain medication in the tissue located near the affected nerves.
  • Execution of electrical stimulation to the nerve endings in the skin. This procedure is aimed at the normalization of the functioning of damaged nerve tissue.

Treatment for shingles at home

Treatment for shingles is the responsibility of the specialist. The doctor examines the patient and if the disease does not pose a threat to human life, he may recommend therapy at home.

Advice on how to deal with illness and what not to do are the following:

  • Hands should be washed with soap after every fact touching the affected area of the skin.
  • Zone of localization of rash is impossible to comb, scratch or otherwise injure. Any mechanical damage increases the risk of secondary infection and can cause sepsis or bacterial infection. When the itching becomes impossible to tolerate, you need to consult a doctor before taking medication. This tool can be Suprastin.
  • Should avoid pressure on the affected area of the skin, not rubbing it on clothing.
  • Artificial perforation or rupture of vesicles with serous content is invalid. They should be resolved in a natural way.
  • Until that time, until the skin remain bubbles with the liquid, to facilitate its own state, applying thereto a sterile gauze pad. Its pre-wet in cool water.
  • When the bubbles settled and covered with a crust, it is necessary that they did not get wet. Areas with crusts should be kept dry, so the packs are excluded, water treatments are minimized.
  • Banned any ointments with antibacterial components, except those that the doctor recommended.
  • Banned band-aid, it will only lengthen the healing process and tissue repair.
  • If there is suppuration of ulcers, a specialist is required.

When to see a doctor?

Known symptoms are similar symptoms of herpes zoster can occur due to other diseases that also pose a threat tohealth. So if the skin had any rash, you should visit a GP, dermatologist, or infectious disease.

After examination, the doctor will specify a diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

Be sure to visit the doctor in the following situations:

  • The presence of symptoms in the child at early age, or have babies.
  • Signs of disease in the elderly.
  • If signs of shingles appeared in a pregnant woman.
  • If a person has cancer or undergoing cancer treatment.
  • If a person takes drugs that affect the immune system. It can be: Azathioprine, Methotrexate, Mercaptopurine, etc.
  • If the person with symptoms of herpes zoster underwent transplantation of internal organs and takes medication to reduce the risk of rejection.
  • Eating the symptoms of the disease developed on the background of existing chronic infection.

Treatment for emergency medical care is needed in that case, if the background of herpes zoster:

  • Having expressed headaches;
  • Appeared vomiting and nausea;
  • There is a tension neck;
  • There is a high body temperature, chills;
  • The patient loses consciousness;
  • The patient has disorders of taste and smell, he has reduced hearing;
  • If there is confusion;
  • Appear cramps;
  • Dizziness occurs;
  • There is pain in the ear.