Shingles is a disease that occurs on the skin on one side of the body in people who have had chickenpox before, and is characterized by very painful, itchy blisters filled with water.
After chickenpox is passed, the virus that causes this disease (varicella zoster) settles in the nerve cells in the body and remains silent for years without giving any symptoms. When the immune system is weakened, the virus can leave the cell in which it has settled and cause an infection in the skin near this nerve area. The resulting bumps usually heal in up to a month, but nerve pain can be seen for longer. Although this disease can occur at any age, it is most common over the age of 50.
The first sign of shingles is burning, stinging pain and increased sensitivity in a certain area of the skin. These symptoms appear in the rash area 2-3 days before the rash develops. In the meantime, headache and fever may occur. Later in this area, redness and groups of clear water-filled blisters occur. These blisters usually stay for 2-4 weeks. Later, the color of the liquid inside the blisters darkens, the crust develops and gradually begins to heal. The pain may persist after the blisters have disappeared. Rarely, there may be pain without a rash.
Intense stress, extreme fatigue, malnutrition, cancer treatments, accident, poisoning or the use of drugs that suppress the immune system can cause this virus to become active. Rarely, shingles can recur.
The diagnosis is usually easy because of the severe pain associated with the skin manifestations. Rarely, microscopic examination of the fluid in the blisters may be required.
Shingles will heal on its own within a few weeks. Painkillers are usually given to relieve the patient. Liquid dressings, on the other hand, allow blisters to dry quickly. In the first 72 hours, the duration of rash and pain is shortened by the use of oral antiviral drugs. Apart from this, B vitamins; Creams and solutions are used to relieve pain, redness and itching. When seen in the eye, eye creams are applied for similar purposes.