• It is a viral infection caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, as upon a previous infection with chickenpox, the virus hides and lives for years in the person’s nervous system in an inactive form, but it may become active again, causing shingles.
  • It can occur anywhere in the body, but often affects a small part on one side of the body in a specific pattern around the left or right side of the torso.
  • Shingles is not considered a dangerous or life-threatening condition. But it may be very painful. This can happen in childhood. However, it is more common in adults, especially older adults.
  • Symptoms usually appear as a painful rash, represented by fluid-filled blisters in a specific pattern resembling a band or a belt.
  • Feeling severe pain, tingling, or burning in the affected parts of the skin, which may begin even before the rash appears.
  • Sensitivity to touching the affected area.
  • Some other symptoms such as fever and headache.
  • The blisters can turn into open sores and then the sores crust over.
  • The rash usually disappears within three to four weeks.
 Risk factors that may lead to infection: 
  • Previous infection with chickenpox.
  • Age: Shingles affects people of all ages, but is most common in adults aged 50 or over.
  • Weakness of the immune system, such as what occurs when exposed to chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or contracting immune diseases such as AIDS and others.
In most cases, it runs its course without any permanent health problems. However, the condition can be accompanied by complications such as:
  • Severe pain that continues for more than three months, even after the blisters disappear.
  • Loss of sight.
  • Meningoencephalitis.
  • Bacterial skin infections.
  • Scarring and changes in skin color occur for a long time after it disappears.
Treatment for shingles usually includes a group of medications that reduce the severity of symptoms and reduce the risk of complications, such as:
  • Antiviral medications: Antiviral medications prevent the virus from multiplying, help the rash heal more quickly, and reduce the severity and duration of pain, especially when used within 72 hours after the rash appears.
  • Painkillers: Because the pain can be severe, strong painkillers are often needed.
  • Antibiotics, which are used when a secondary bacterial infection occurs on the rash.
Prevention is by taking the vaccine, which is given in two doses to the following groups:
  • Adults aged 50 years and over.
  • Adults aged 18 years and over when suffering from an immune disease or for those taking immunosuppressive medications such as chemotherapy.
 Tips for people with shingles: 
  • Keep the rash clean and dry to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Avoid sharing clothes.
  • Do not touch the rash of infected people.
  • Avoid contact with people with shingles in particular
  • Wear loose clothing made of natural fibers.
  • Be careful to avoid contact with some special groups (such as pregnant women, those with weak immunity, and also newborns).

Last Update : 26 March 2024 12:35 AM
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