Shingles: Symptoms and effects of virus
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Caused by the varicella-zoster virus, shingles describes a painful disease. Although the name of the virus might not sound familiar, it is the same culprit that triggers chickenpox. Once you’ve battled the condition typical for children, the virus stays inactive in your nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain able to reappear as shingles in later life.
Shingles isn’t usually serious but it’s important to seek medical help when you think you have it, according to the NHS.
National Institute on Ageing has shared one warning sign that means you need to see doctor as soon as possible.
The health portal said: “If you notice blisters on your face, see your doctor right away because this is an urgent problem.
“Blisters near or in the eye can cause lasting eye damage and blindness.
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“Hearing loss, a brief paralysis of the face, or, very rarely, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) can also occur.”
Fortunately, this isn’t that common as shingles is often mild.
However, the NHS advises getting medical help as soon as you suspect symptoms.
There’s plenty of tell-tale signs that could help you spot the diagnosis, ranging from rash to fever.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the full list of shingles symptoms includes:
- Pain, burning, numbness or tingling
- Sensitivity to touch
- A red rash that begins a few days after the pain
- Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
- Sensitivity to light
The signs usually crop up only on a small section of one side of your body.
The health portal explains: “Most commonly, the shingles rash develops as a stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or right side of your torso.
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“Sometimes the shingles rash occurs around one eye or on one side of the neck or face.”
Once you identify the symptoms, it’s important to act promptly.
You might need medicine to help aid your recovery and avoid long-lasting problems and medicine tends to work best when taken within the first three days of your symptoms, the NHS explains.
Although shingles is characterised by a tell-tale rash, sometimes this sign doesn’t crop up and you only feel the pain linked to it.
Other sensations that can appear alongside shingles pain are burning, numbness or tingling.
Although shingles can be mild, vaccination can also help cut your risk of developing the infection. The shingles jab is available on the NHS for people in their 70s.
The immunisation can help make your symptoms much milder.
The good news is that if you develop shingles, it can be often treated at home.
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