Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Even after the chickenpox infection is over, the virus may live in your nervous system for years before reactivating as shingles. Shingles may also be referred to as herpes zoster. This type of viral infection is characterized by a red skin rash that can cause pain and burning. Shingles usually appears as a stripe of blisters on one side of the body, typically on the torso, neck, or face.
HOW IS ZOSTER DIAGNOSED?
Most cases of shingles can be diagnosed with a physical examination of rashes and blisters. The doctor will also ask questions about medical history. In rare instances, the doctor may need to test a sample of your skin or the fluid from the blisters. This involves using a sterile swab to collect a sample of tissue or fluid. Samples are then sent to a medical laboratory to confirm the presence of the virus.
HOW IS ZOSTER TREATED?
There’s no cure for shingles, but medication may be prescribed to ease symptoms and shorten the length of the infection. Home treatment can also help ease the symptoms. Home treatments may include:
• applying cold, wet compresses to the rash to reduce pain and itching
• applying calamine lotion to reduce itching
• taking colloidal oatmeal baths to ease pain and itching
DID YOU KNOW?
There is a vaccination available for Zoster however there is no 100% assurance that it can prevent you from getting the disease all together.