Herpes Zoster - Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Herpes Zoster gets its name from both Latin and French words for belt or girdle and refers to girdle-like skin eruptions on the trunk. Herpes zoster is an acute , localized infection with varicella-zoster virus,generally causing a painful, blistering rash.It is a kind of herpes, which spreads half way around the body like a girdle and is usually results in violent neuralgic pain.
A disease characterized by painful skin lesions that occurs mainly on the trunk of the body but which can also develop on the face and in the mouth. Shingles are caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Outbreaks of shingles follow the distribution of nerves in the skin. Most people are exposed to this virus during childhood. After the primary infection, the virus becomes inactivated or dormant.
Zoster is generally affects the trunk and buttocks, but it can also appear on the face, arms, legs, upper abdomen and lower chest if nerves in these areas are involved. It can also appear along the other nerves including that leading to the eye and can cause serious ocular complications which lead to blindness.
The possible symptoms of herpes zoster are as:-
- Warning symptoms of itching,tingling,unilateral pain or burning sensation limited to a specific part of the body. Pain and burning sensation may be intense
- Reddening of skin followed by appearance of Grouped, dense, deep, small blisters.
- General feeling of malaise
- Complications, include headache, vomiting, fever and meningitis.
- Vision abnormalities and taste abnormalities.
The same virus that causes chicken pox, causes shingles. This virus is in the herpes family. Shingles is also called herpes zoster
- Some of the virus germs that cause chicken pox stay in the body, remain inactive in the nerve cells near the spine for many years. Then the herpes zoster virus suddenly wakes up from the dormant state and grows. Once active, the virus travel along the nerve paths to the skin and destruct every nerves path they follow resulting in pain and rashes of shingles.
- It can be a result of re-emerging of the virus after many years
- Adult or child is exposed to the herpes zoster virus and has not had chickenpox as a child or received the chickenpox vaccine, a severe case of chickenpox may develop rather than shingles.
- People who have not had chickenpox could become infected with herpes zoster and develop chickenpox.
- Scratching may introduce bacteria into herpes zoster lesions and result in a bacterial infection. Persistent herpes zoster lesions may be an indication that an overlying bacterial infection is present. Bacterial infection may cause severe complications, such as cellulitis and subsequent scarring.
- Advanced age: The risk of getting shingles increases as you age. People have a hard time fighting off infections as they get older.
The effective treatments for herpes zoster are as:-
- Herpes Zoster can be treated with antivirals,anti-inflammatory medications and aspirin and other analgesics are used to relieve pain.these also reduce the duration of the disease.
- Eye drops and ointments may be prescribed by the doctors to treat ocular problems.
- Secondary condition secondary conditions caused by herpes zoste may require surgery.
- Infected persons should avoid contact with people who may be more susceptible to contracting the disease such as, the elderly, children, pregnant women, or anyone with a compromised immune system.
- Anti-herpes drugs: The standard treatment for shingles is the drug acyclovir, which can be given orally or intravenously in more severe cases.
- Skin Treatments: Several creams, gels and sprays are being studied. These provide temporary relief from pain.