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Shingles ( Herpes Zoster ) :- Symptoms, Stages, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Risk Factor and Home Remedies of Shingles ( Herpes Zoster )

Shingles (herpes zoster) is a viral infection of the central nervous system that affects the sensory nerves of the skin on (usually) the chest and one side of the body. The skin develops painful, red blisters at specific nerve routes and the rash stays for as long as 3 weeks.

Shingles ( Herpes Zoster ) Symptoms

Symptoms are described on the basis of stages

Symptoms that may appear during the prodromal stage include:

Numbness, tingling, itching, or pain in the place where the rash is about to appear




Symptoms of the eruptive stage involves:

Redness of the skin followed by swelling or bumps.

From the bumps, blisters then form that contain clear fluid. The blisters become pustules (pimple-like sores) and crusts (scabs).

The rash almost always appears in a band or patch on just one side of the body.

Any part of the body can be involved, including the back, chest, abdomen, arms, legs, or face.

Symptoms may range from only mildly bothersome to itchy to really painful.

New blisters may continue to appear for up to 5 days.

Within 14 days, a scab forms.

The rash usually goes away in about 3 to 5 weeks .

Shingles ( Herpes Zoster ) Stages

There are two stages of shingles:

1.The prodromal stage - at this stage symptoms occur about 2 to 5 days before the rash appears.

2.The eruptive stage - at this stage of shingles skin rash (lesions) appears.

Shingles ( Herpes Zoster ) Causes

The main cause of shingles is a decrease in your body's natural resistance, which may come through other infections, stress, being generally run down, or occasionally, when the body's immune defences are affected by certain drugs or other immune deficiencies.

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox (varicella-zoster). It may lie dormant in the spinal cord until triggered by stress, anti-cancer drugs, or any of a number of immune deficiency diseases. One attack (like chicken pox) usually provides immunity against recurrance. According to macrobiotic understanding, the actually root cause of shingles is excess animal protein which causes putrefication inside the intestinal tract which suppresses the immune system. Even vegetarians whose parents ate animal food may also develop shingles.

Shingles ( Herpes Zoster ) Diagnosis

The doctor will make the physical examination of the patient. Shingles is usually diagnosed by the appearance of the bandlike rash that occurs on one side of your body. Tests are rarely necessary.

Following tests may be performed to diagnose shingles

Viral culture of skin lesion

Microscopic examination using a Tzanck preparation. This involves staining a smear obtained from a blister. Cells infected with the herpes virus will appear very large and contain many dark cell centers or nuclei.

Complete blood count (CBC) may show an elevated white blood cell count (WBC), a nonspecific sign of infection

Herpes tests : this test is done on cells taken from a blister.

Shingles ( Herpes Zoster ) Treatment

Shingles almost always goes on its own and may not require any treatment except for the relief of symptoms. Treatment depends on the area affected.

Treatment includes the following:

If the eye is affected (ophthalmic herpes) or looks like it may become affected, your doctor is likely to ask an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) to see you as a matter of urgency. The treatment is likely to involve specific anti-viral eye drops, and possibly treatment by mouth as well.

Your doctor may want to prescribe a specific anti-viral agent, possibly in the form of treatment to be applied, or in the form of tablets. These are more likely to be used in someone whose eye is affected, or whose immune system is adversely affected by drugs or illness.

Antibiotics: If any of the blisters become infected with ordinary germs (bacteria) the area becomes more red and sore (inflamed) and may take longer to heal. The doctor may treat this with antibiotics, in the form of a cream, or by mouth.

Early treatment may help shorten the length of the illness and prevent complications such as postherpetic neuralgia.

Risk Factor of Shingles ( Herpes Zoster )

Older adults a nd people with weaker immune system are more likely to get shingles. People with weakened immune system includes those who have had a bone marrow or organ transplant.

Those who have cancer, especially of the lymph system

Those are infected with HIV.

Shingles ( Herpes Zoster ) Prevention

Avoid too much animal food and keep the immune system strong

If you have shingles you should stay away from other people until the blisters have dried (usually about seven days), as there are virus particles in the blister fluid.

Eat a well-balanced diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals

Get enough sleep

Exercise regularly

Reduce stress.

Home Remedy of Shingles ( Herpes Zoster )

Take good care of skin sores, do not scratching blisters

Keep your skin clean. Do not re-use contaminated items

Soothing baths and lotions such as colloidal oatmeal baths, starch baths or lotions, and calamine lotion may help to relieve itching and discomfort.

Cool, wet compresses may help reduce pain.

Vinegar is of great help in treating shingles. Mix one-quarter cup of white vinegar in two quarts of lukewarm water. Use the compress twice each day for 10 minutes. Stop using the compresses when the blisters have dried up.


Call the doctor if:

You suspect you have shingles

A rash develops near your eyes

Any sign of shingles develops (such as pain or changes in vision) that affects your forehead, nose, eye, or eyelid.

Any symptoms of shingles develop (such as headache, stiff neck, dizziness, weakness, hearing loss, or changes in your thinking and reasoning abilities) that affect your central nervous system.

Skin sores spread to parts of your body beyond the original area of the rash.

You develop pain in your face or are unable to move muscles in your face.

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