Shingles are an infection of the skin and nerves caused by the same virus that produces chickenpox. Shingles affect people older than 60 years. Shingles appear in pain and blister in a delimited skin area - most often on the face or chest. Treatment should be initiated as soon as possible and no later than 3 days after eruption has expired to be effective. If you have shingles on the face, contact your doctor immediately to avoid damage to your eyes.
Shingles are an infection of the skin and nerves due to a virus called herpes zoster. In children, herpes zoster leads to chickenpox and in the elderly to shingles.
Shingles are a very common infection, especially seen in older than 60 years. About half of all over 80 years will get shingles at some point. By far most people only get a single case of shingles. After having chicken pox as a child, the viruses are sleeping in our nerve roots. If the virus wakes up, it spreads from the nerve root and into the skin along a nerve. It gives pain and rash like the skin area that the nerve provides. The affected skin area is therefore only on one side of the face or chest.
Shingles begin with burning pain in a defined skin area. After a few days, blistering will come. Shingles are most commonly located to one half of the face or chest. Shingles on the face can cause eye damage.
The blisters resemble small grapes with a red skin around the skin. After one week, the blisters transform into sores with crusts. Skin and discoloration of the skin may last for months to years. The pains are moderate to powerful and are described as burning - hence the name shingles. The pain lasts a few weeks and is in most people left after a month.
Shingles are treated with painkillers and antibiotics. Treatment should be initiated as soon as possible and no later than 3 days after eruption has expired to be effective.