A rash that erupts in the corner of a person’s eyes, causing painful blisters, is called shingles and it often appears between two to five days after exposure to the virus that causes it. The pain can be mild to severe and often recurs and is of short duration. Shingles occurs frequently in elderly people who are susceptible to the infection and who have weak immune systems; as a result, it often follows other diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox: Varicella zoster virus (VZV). There is no cure for VZV. However, there are treatments for the virus that slow its development and alleviate symptoms, such as pain, burning and itchiness. The rash often clears up within a week or two with appropriate treatment, but may recur later in life. The outlook is good, however; many treatments can prevent the virus from recurrence.
Some of the treatments available are: Antibiotics. These work by reducing the bacteria responsible for the painful symptoms. Some of these drugs, such as penicillin, are available without a prescription. Other antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, are available only by a doctor’s prescription and must be taken exactly as prescribed.
Ointments. These contain compounds that numb pain and reduce discomfort. There are some over-the-counter and prescription ointments, as well as self-medication, available. Corticosteroids are sometimes prescribed, as well, which relieve symptoms of shingles and fever. These can be used for short periods or as a maintenance drug.
Topical creams and lotions. These can be very effective in treating shingles and helping to control the pain. Unfortunately, these often do not prevent the virus from coming back. This is why it is important to find a treatment that will prevent future outbreaks. Some topical creams contain steroids, which slow the virus’ progress. Others help break down the proteins that cause shingles.
Suppressive therapy. Shingles is often triggered by a strain of the virus known as varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Anti-viral drugs, called anti-viral medications, can help fight this strain. These are usually taken orally, either in a dream or in a suppository form. Some of these medications, such as valacyclovir (Valtrex), are considered quite successful in treating shingles. Others, such as famciclovir (Famvir), zalcitabine (Zaltox), and stavudine (Diflucan) have relatively poor success rates.
Many people wonder about the severity of the pain they feel with shingles. While some do experience very severe symptoms, many only experience mild. In fact, many people only realize they are experiencing shingles when they have an intense burning or tingling pain. The actual pain can often be quite intense as well, even if the rash is located in an area that is covered by clothing.
If you have this question, your first option is likely to be over the counter pain medication. Be sure to always follow the direction on the package, and read all the possible side effects. This can be an extremely effective way to ease the pain from shingles. Be aware, though, that many pain medications can cause nausea, dizziness, or lethargy. If you experience these symptoms after taking the medication, or if you are pregnant or might become pregnant, talk to your doctor immediately.
Another popular question about shingles is how painful they are. This is a common question among parents, who want to know how best to treat their child. The answer to this question will depend greatly on the patient. For example, if the rash causes extreme discomfort or creates the need to urinate frequently, the patient may experience more severe pain than someone who only experiences mild shingles. As with most questions, it will be based upon the case.
How painful does shingles can also be relative. If you have extremely painful outbreaks that last for days or even weeks, your body may be reacting to something foreign. This may be a particular type of virus, or it may be some kind of chemical or food that irritates the skin. Some drugs like aspirin, penicillin and prednisone can cause the rash to become more severe, so be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any medications that may have this side effect.
Many people who suffer from shingles will not experience the worst of the symptoms. In fact, for many, the first few days or weeks of the outbreak are the least painful. But eventually as the body slowly recovers, the pain will increase and the blisters will become red and dry and finally develop cracks and crusts. So the real question “How painful does shingles feel?”