My Blog

Posts for tag: Shingles

By ANNAPOLIS DERMATOLOGY CENTER INC
October 28, 2021
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Shingles  
ShinglesMany of us who have had chickenpox as children may be aware that the virus that causes it can become active again in adulthood as Shingles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “An estimated 1 million people get shingles each year in this country.” The varicella-zoster virus, which triggers chickenpox, also leads to the Shingles virus. Although adults over 50 are most afflicted, it can also affect younger people and children. The most common symptoms are burning pain and a rash with blisters on one side of the chest and belly. Some may also experience fever, chills, headaches, and fatigue. While the blisters are still open, the shingles virus can be spread to pregnant women, newborns, people with weakened immune systems, or those that haven't had the chickenpox or vaccine. Until you can seek the proper medical attention, avoid any contact with these compromised populations.

Although there is no cure for Shingles, antiviral medication can shorten the duration of the illness.  Acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir are typical antiviral treatments that are most effective when taken as soon as a rash appears. Contact a dermatologist or other physician right away if you think you might have Shingles or within three days of receiving a rash. Delay in or lack of medical treatment can cause complications such as nerve pain called Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN) after the rash has healed. An affliction in or near the eye could lead to blindness if not cared for by an ophthalmologist.

In addition, the pain that accompanies the rash is extremely uncomfortable and can impede your everyday functions.  Ibuprofens can help alleviate pain; however, the following methods can also provide some relief and promote faster healing:
  • Take a cool or lukewarm bath with oatmeal
  • Reduce stress with a relaxing activity
  • Apply cool compresses
  • Use Calamine lotion
  • Keep the rash dry by applying corn starch or baking soda
  • Wear loose clothing

Although Shingles can be quite debilitating and painful, keep in mind that it is treatable. The sooner you seek medical care, the sooner you can shorten its duration, avoid further complications, and speed recovery. Adhere to the following guidelines if you suspect or know for sure you have contracted the Shingles virus:

  • Contact your physician right away
  • Take the prescribed dosage of antiviral medication without delay
  • Follow any instructions given for ease of rash pain
  • Avoid contact with vulnerable groups while the rash is still present
  • Tell your doctor if you continue to have pain.
By ANNAPOLIS DERMATOLOGY CENTER INC
November 03, 2020
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Shingles  
Treating ShinglesAs kids, we dealt with that notoriously itchy rash caused by chickenpox. Unfortunately, as we get older, the same virus that caused our childhood chickenpox can also cause shingles. If you’ve had chickenpox in the past, then that same virus is lying dormant within the body. This means that at some point during your lifetime, the virus does have the ability to reactivate, causing a painful, blistering rash on the stomach and sides. This is known as shingles.

Think You Have Shingles?

If you notice a blister-like rash developing on one side of the body it’s possible that you could have shingles. If you suspect that you have shingles, you must see a doctor.

Those over the age of 60 years old as well as those with chronic conditions such as diabetes are more at risk for complications related to shingles, so you must seek immediate dermatology care from a qualified doctor. A dermatologist can also rule out other possible conditions or infections.

Treating Shingles

For the antiviral medication to be most effective, you must see a doctor right away if you think you have shingles. The most common types of antiviral medications used to treat shingles include acyclovir and valacyclovir. These antivirals can speed up the healing process and reduce the severity of your symptoms.
There are also simple home remedies that you can use to ease discomfort associated with the rash. Some of these remedies include:
  • Applying cold compresses to the rash
  • Soaking in a cool oatmeal bath
  • Wearing light, loose-fitted clothing that won’t rub against the rash
  • Applying calamine lotion to reduce itching
  • Managing stress effectively and finding ways to help you relax
  • Eating healthy, balanced meals
  • Getting good quality sleep every night
Preventing Shingles

The good news is that there is a shingles vaccine that can protect you against this infection. If you are over the age of 50, you could benefit from the shingles vaccine so ask your doctor. The vaccine can protect you from shingle for up to five years.

If you are worried that you might have shingles, or if you’re interested in finding out whether or not you should get the shingles vaccine, a qualified dermatologist will be able to answer all of your questions and provide you with the custom dermatology treatment you need to ease your symptoms. 
By Annapolis Dermatology Center Inc
June 03, 2019
Category: Skin Health
Tags: Shingles  

The effects of chickenpox may last beyond your childhood infection. Shingles, a widespread, itchy, painful rash, can break out at any time in adulthood because the causative agent, the Varicella Zoster virus, lies dormant within the body for life. Your dermatologist can help you control the awful pain and dangerous complications of shingles. He or she also has suggestions on avoiding an outbreak of this common and contagious skin disease.

What does shingles look like? A shingles rash is a reddened, itchy, oozing skin rash composed of raised blisters. Typically, it is widespread on the face near the eye, on the torso (front wrapping around to the back), or on the neck. People experience exceptional pain for at least two to six weeks, and due to damaged nerve endings, some individuals have unresolved pain for years.

What are the potential complications? Just like its childhood counterpart, shingles is contagious. So, people exposed to your shingle rash may develop chickenpox if they have never been sick with it previously.

Plus, shingles may lead to serious vision or hearing problems, fever, balance issues, and light sensitivity. People with a weakened immune system are potential shingles sufferers, and unfortunately, perfectly healthy people who have a shingles flare-up can then become immunosuppressed. In short, shingles is nothing to joke about.

How is it treated? Mild cases respond to cool baths, skin calming lotions, topical steroids and over the counter pain relievers. More severe flare-ups may require narcotic pain relievers, anti-convulsants, steroidal injections and numbing medications applied directly to the skin. Medications such as Acyclovir and Valacyclovir help dampen the spread of the virus.

Can you prevent an outbreak of shingles? Your dermatologist or primary care physician may provide you with a shingles vaccine to greatly reduce your chances of having shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology says that Zostavoax is for patients over 60, and the Shingrix vaccine may be administered beginning at age 50.

Find out more

Your dermatologist is an excellent resource for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of simple to complex skin conditions and diseases. If you are starting a shingle outbreak or desire to prevent one, call your skin doctor for a consultation. He or she will inform you on the best ways to stay as healthy as possible.

By ANNAPOLIS DERMATOLOGY CENTER INC
September 28, 2018
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Shingles   Chickenpox  

Shingles is a painful conditionWhat are the symptoms of and treatments for this painful dermatological condition?

Did you know that anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for shingles, and that those over the age of 50 are more likely to develop this condition? Approximately one out of three Americans will have shingles at some point in their lives. Read on to learn more about this common problem.

What is shingles?

Shingles is caused by a virus known as the varicella¬≠zoster virus, which is the same virus known to cause chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox before the virus never truly goes away. Instead it lies dormant within the nerves of the spinal cord and brain. When the virus is reactivated, it manifests as shingles.

What are the symptoms of shingles?

The main symptom of shingles is a red, painful rash that usually appears on one side of the body. The rash may be tender to the touch and typically causes intense itching. The rash is made up of blisters that burst and crust over. Your rash may also be accompanied by malaise, fever, or headache.

What are the risk factors for shingles?

Anyone who has been infected by chickenpox can have shingles. However, this illness is more common in those over the age of 50 and the risk continues to increase as you age.

Also, those who have a weakened immune system due to certain chronic diseases like HIV, or those currently undergoing cancer treatment may be at an increased risk of developing shingles.

Different shingles treatments

While there is no cure for this disease there are antiviral medications you can take to promote faster healing and to reduce your risk of developing other complications. If you are experiencing severe pain, we may also recommend prescription pain medications or creams to help ease your symptoms. Most people experience shingles symptoms for about two to six weeks.

Can I prevent shingles?

There are two vaccines that we recommend for preventing shingles. The first is the chickenpox vaccine, which is recommended for children and any adults who have never had chickenpox. The second vaccine is the shingles vaccine. While these vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective, they can greatly reduce your chances of developing shingles.

If your shingles rash has developed near your eye or is severely painful, then it’s time to see your dermatologist right away for treatment.