Shingles

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shingles is an acute, sometimes painful infection caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Dr. Edward Hill takes a closer look at the condition in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Shingles is a viral infection of the nerve roots that typically causes a painful blister-like rash. Shingles results from the same virus that causes chickenpox.

After a person has had chickenpox, the virus becomes inactive in the roots of spinal nerves. The virus is activated when a persons immune system is weakened with normal aging or from the stress of an illness.

Shingles causes a sometimes painful, blister-like skin rash that develops in a nerve root dermatome on one side of the body.

Shingles rash usually goes away in a few weeks. Early medication treatment may decrease the severity of the illness, shorten the duration of symptoms and decrease the risk of scarring and complications such as chronic pain.

If the pain continues for longer than a month, the person may have post-herpetic neuralgia. In these cases, medication may need to be continued even after the shingles rash has healed. Shingles that involves the face and eye should be treated immediately.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.