Should You Treat Shingles Fast?

The Shingles virus should be treated quickly because of potential complications. Shingles is a painful rash with blisters that often burst or crust over, often taking months to resolve. Many other complications can arise due to the shingles virus, including postherpetic neuralgia and herpes zoster. The reactivation of the virus can sometimes lead to a second infection.

The Shingles rash is caused by the varicella-zoster virus(VZV) that also causes chickenpox. Shingles symptoms include pain, sensitivity to light, numbness or burning at the center of the rash, and a feeling of itching or burning in the affected area or a wound. Many individuals have only mild, flu-like symptoms, including fever and fatigue. However, some patients may have complications, including postherpetic neuralgia, which can cause excruciating nerve pain and may last for several years.

Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a potentially debilitating result of shingles characterized by persistent pain lasting years after the shingles rash. About 5 million Americans have PHN, and one-third of patients with postherpetic neuralgia seek medical attention for the condition(Avramut,2020). The reactivation of dormant varicella-zoster causes postherpetic neuralgia (PHN).

In PHN, the virus remains hidden in nerve tissue for the first five years after the rash and can become active again and form new lesions, triggering intense, long-lasting nerve pain. PHTN results from the reactivation of new viral lesions, which may happen years after the initial rash.

Treatments for PHN range from pharmacologic, lifestyle modification, and surgical interventions. Pharmacologic therapies should blunt the symptoms of PHN, such as tingling, burning, or pressure sensations in the skin. However, the reduction in symptoms for most patients is linearly related to the speed at which initial shingles symptoms were treated. Therefore, early treatment of shingles lowers the risk of long-term complications.

Individuals at higher risk of developing shingles include those older than fifty have an increased risk of infection. The group would consist of weakened immune systems, such as cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease. People who have received a weakened immune system transplant, such as a bone marrow transplant, are at particular risk. They may also be at risk for developing shingles after receiving different medications or vaccinations and having prior shingles episodes. Individuals at risk for shingles are also at higher risk for complications arising from the disease, such as postherpetic neuralgia, which can be treated with drugs or surgery.

The CDC recommends that individuals 60 years or older receive the vaccine for herpes zoster to prevent shingles. Some creams have been shown to prevent shingles in those vaccinated before developing their first symptom of the virus. Pre-existing antibodies associated with previous shingles infections may interfere with a response to the new vaccine. Low-dose vaccines require two or three doses at least six months apart, while high-dose vaccine requires a single amount five to 10 days after exposure to the virus. Treatment also protects against shingles in those who have already had shingles, even if they have not developed an outbreak, for individuals who are between ages 50 and 59.

It is important to note that the shingles vaccine prevents all but the newest strain of the virus. However, the vaccine has not been proven to prevent postherpetic neuralgia. For this reason, individual shingles vaccines are recommended only for patients with existing risk factors. This recommendation from the CDC aims to protect individuals with weakened immune systems from the shingles virus.

According to the CDC, antiviral drugs should not be prescribed for shingles that have not fully developed into a rash. Antiviral drugs may speed the onset or severity of postherpetic neuralgia(Close Up Media, 2017). After shingles have been treated, they need to contact a healthcare professional when they have postherpetic neuralgia symptoms. They may prescribe the best creams that are effective for shingles such as EmuaidMAX which one can find many fantastic reviews for EmuaidMax ointment. It has been shown to reduce symptoms.

The VZV infects both the liver and the peripheral nervous system. VZV can be spread by direct contact with blood and exposure to infected persons, such as doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and blood or plasma donors.

VZV transmission risk includes sharing needles during drug abuse, through a transplant recipient’s infected needle, or because the infected donor is under care for VZV. VZV is not spread by contact with the air, food, water, or anything else. Some individuals, however, have been infected with the virus without symptoms. New symptoms may not show until a VZV infection progresses to a chronic disease (Berar,2021).

Chronic VZV infections can worsen more quickly. Certain factors increase disease risks, such as decreased immune response, chronic diseases, and secondary malignancies. Furthermore, taking solid antiretroviral drugs for HIV increases the risk of developing shingles. However, even if most patients do not have HIV, there are still no reliable risk estimates for the person with HIV or shingles.

Summarily, prolonged Shingles infections can lead to protracted and worsening chronic conditions. Therefore, the CDC recommends that clinicians consider immunization of a shingles vaccine when patients see viral rashes for the first time, shingles outbreaks appear, the patient has a condition that may compromise their immune system, or where there has been organ or other transplant therapy or surgery.

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