Herpes zoster is a viral infection that causes rash and pain. Herpes zoster can occur anywhere in the body and generally form like a wound line or rash on the left or right side of the body.
What is the cause of herpes zoster?
Herpes zoster is caused by a virus that can also cause chickenpox namely Varicella Zoster. When a person has recovered from chickenpox, the virus will become inactive and stay in the neural network close to the spinal cord and brain. Over time, the virus can reactivate as herpes zoster.
- Experiencing pain, burning, numbness or tingling sensations
- More sensitive when touched
- The red rash will begin 1 to 5 days after feeling pain
- The rash will blister and contain fluid that will rupture within 7 to 10 days. The rash will generally disappear within 2 to 4 weeks.
In addition to the above signs, generally also occur other symptoms such as:
- A headache
- More sensitive to light
- The body feels weak
The pain arises is the main symptom of herpes zoster. In general, people will think the pain is caused by problems that affect the heart, lungs or kidneys. Some people have had herpes zoster without a rash.
Generally, herpes zoster will cause injury to the left or right side of the body. In some rare cases, the rash may be more extensive and look similar to a chickenpox rash. Herpes zoster can affect the eyes and cause loss of vision.
Is herpes zoster contagious?
A person with herpes zoster can spread Varicella zoster virus to anyone who does not have immunity against chickenpox. Transmission generally occurs through direct contact with open wounds on herpes zoster rash. Once infected, the person will experience chickenpox and not herpes zoster.
What are the possible complications in herpes zoster?
- Neuralgia Postherpetic: In some people, the pain in herpes zoster may continue after the wound heals. This condition is known as postherpetic neuralgia and it occurs when damaged nerve fibers send excessive pain signals from the skin to the brain.
- Loss of vision: Herpes Zoster occurring around the eyes can cause vision loss.
- Neurological disorders: Nerve disorders may occur depending on the affected part of the nerve. Herpes Zoster can cause brain inflammation, facial paralysis, or hearing or balance problems.
- Skin infections: If abrasions on herpes zoster are not treated, they can cause skin infections.
What are the risk factors for herpes zoster triggers?
Everyone who has had chickenpox has the same risk factor for herpes zoster. Factors that can increase the risk of herpes zoster are:
- People over the age of 50 years. Herpes zoster is most commonly experienced by people over 50 years of age. This is because the weakening of the immune system increases the risk of herpes zoster.
- Have a certain health condition. Diseases that weaken the immune system such as HIV / AIDS and cancer can increase the risk of herpes zoster.
- Ongoing cancer treatment therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy can lower the immunity of the disease and may increase the risk of developing herpes zoster.
- Consume certain medications.
How to prevent herpes zoster?
There are two vaccines that can help prevent the occurrence of herpes zoster, namely:
- The chickenpox vaccine: Varicella vaccine is a routine vaccine that can help prevent chickenpox. This vaccine can also be used for adults who have never had chickenpox. This vaccine cannot guarantee a person not to get chickenpox, but it can reduce the likelihood of complications and reduce the severity of the disease.
- Herpes zoster vaccine: There are two kinds of Zostavax and Shingrix. Zostavax was approved by the FDA in 2006 and has been shown to provide protection against herpes zoster for about five years. Zostavax can only be given to people under 60 years of age. Shingrix is approved by the FDA in 2017 and is another alternative choice of zostavax. Research shows that Shingrix can provide protection against herpes zoster for more than five years. Shingrix can be given to people over 50 years of age.
Those vaccines are able to reduce the length of the disease period, the severity of the disease, and reduce the risk of postherpetic neuralgia.
How to overcome herpes zoster?
There is no cure for herpes zoster. The treatment is done to speed healing and reduce the risk of complications. Medicine can be used are:
- Antiviral drugs
- Medication for pain relief
- Natural remedies
Thank you for reading this article, and hopefully will be beneficial for you.
Please leave a comment, give a rate and share if you like! Thanks 🙂