Shingles - Diagnosis & Treatment
Shingles is a painful and sometimes debilitating skin condition that causes a rash, redness, fatigue, and burning pain.
Shingles is the result of a viral infection by the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you had chickenpox, the virus is likely still in your nervous system, where it can remain dormant for decades.
When the virus resurges, it presents as shingles. According to the CDC, one-third of people in the U.S. will suffer from shingles at some point in their lives. There is a shingles vaccine, but if you have already contracted shingles, the vaccine is of little use.
Shingles can be life-altering, leaving a person bed-bound or in excruciating pain. Shingles cannot be reversed or cured, but the symptoms can be treated to provide relief.
Are you suffering from shingles? At Dermatology Associates of Uptown, we can help.
What are the Symptoms of Shingles?
- Pain and burning, usually on one side of the body
- A red rash with fluid-filled blisters
- Rash on face and ears, or wrapping around the spine to the torso
- Fever and chills
- Headaches and muscle weakness
In rare instances, severe complications such as intense eye pain, loss of hearing in one ear, dizziness, or bacterial infection may also occur.
Types of Shingles
There’s only one type of shingles, but it can appear primarily on certain parts of the body, such as:
- Shingles on the face
- Shingles of the eyes
- Shingles of the mouth
If you get shingles on your face, the rash will usually be on only one side. Should the rash be close to your ear, the result may be a loss of hearing or balance.
If shingles occur in your mouth, you may have a hard time tasting your food.
Shingles of the eye typically present as a rash on your eyelids. Should this happen, blurry vision and even nerve damage or long-term vision loss are possible.
It’s essential to get immediate care from your dermatologist at Dermatology Associates of Uptown to protect yourself against long-term ramifications.
What Causes Shingles?
In medical terms, shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is responsible for chickenpox. While doctors don't know why some people get shingles and others don't, you can get shingles if you have had chickenpox either as a child or adult.
Shingles is more common in older adults due to compromised immune systems. Other causes include:
- Emotional stress
- Undergoing cancer treatments
- Recovering from major surgery
Due to the serious issues that can arise with a shingles outbreak, see your dermatologist right away to decide on the best method of treatment.
Treatment for Shingles
If you believe you are suffering from shingles, call to make an appointment with your dermatologist at Dermatology Associates of Uptown as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. The earlier you get treatment, the less severe your shingles symptoms may be.