The shingles virus, also known as Varicella zoster, is a painful condition that can cause a variety of symptoms. If an individual has experienced Chickenpox, they have the potential to catch this virus. Though they are two different conditions, they are both parts of the same virus.
The Varicella Zoster Virus
Varicella-zoster is a type of herpes virus that can cause both shingles and Chickenpox. Since Chickenpox is highly contagious, the risk for spreading illness is considered high, especially during childhood. While parents used to expose their children to Chickenpox early to prevent the severity of symptoms, shingles are much more dangerous.
If a child has Chickenpox, the virus can lay dormant for several years. Once it is activated, however, it can cause a different kind of reaction. Blisters and severe pain are often associated with the Varicella zoster virus. In addition to skin irritation, it may cause fever and headaches that can last significantly longer than the symptoms of Chickenpox.
There are vaccinations available. Approximately 15% of people who receive one dose of the vaccine will still catch the virus. This significantly reduces the chance of getting any viral condition from Varicella zoster.
Typical Symptoms of The Varicella Zoster Virus
The main symptom of this virus is a painful rash. It is usually found somewhere on the torso of the body but can be pretty large. Rashes typically begin two or three days after the infection. Before the full extent of a rash, many individuals with Varicella Zoster will feel tired or restless.
After a few days of infection, the rash will form fluid-filled blisters. Skin irritation can feel both itchy and flakey. Many people report feeling a burning or tingling sensation where the rash has occurred.
Blisters will usually dry out over the course of ten days. When this happens, there is a likelihood of spreading the infection to others. If the blisters are broken or leaking, this can spread to others if they, too, have an open wound.
An internal infection of Varicella zoster will cause severe symptoms. This happens when the virus begins to impact specific organs. Unique complications of this virus can cause dangerous outcomes.
The main symptoms of internal Varicella-zoster include muscle aches, pain, and swelling of the lymph nodes. These are signs that the body’s immune system is struggling to fight the virus. Common areas that can be negatively affected include the eyes, liver, nervous system, and brain.
A severe reaction causes internal Varicella-zoster. A weakened immune system or cancer treatment can be risk factors for this type of condition. If there is significant pain or the individual is over sixty years of age, professional care may be necessary.
To diagnose the Varicella zoster virus, a medical doctor will review all the symptoms and perform an exam. Depending on the location of the infection, physicians may be able to understand which organs are affected if it is an internal condition.
Common tests used to diagnose the Varicella zoster virus include a virus culture, polymerase chain reaction, and direct fluorescence antibody stain. For internal cases of the virus, steroids may be prescribed.
Some instances of the virus occur on the face. If the Varicella zoster virus infects one of both eyes, this can cause major vision-related complications. Infections can easily lead to injuries involving the cornea. For any eye infection, a specialist is necessary before trying to treat the issue.
Nerve damage is possible with this infection. Ramsay Hunt syndrome can cause hearing loss from facial nerve damage. Facial paralysis and general facial pain are also possible from this syndrome. Although the condition is usually temporary, it may take several days. A medical professional is necessary to diagnose this condition.
Home Treatment Options
Certain remedies can relieve discomfort without using medication. Many short-term comfort options can be found within the home.
A cold compress can be used for itchy skin. Using a wet washcloth or a bag of ice can numb the affected area. By periodically refilling the ice bag, this method works for approximately one hour. A cold washcloth may be more adaptable to areas of the skin that must bend to function.
Loose clothing is also recommended. Tight clothing with elastic or synthetic fibers can further irritate the rash. Wearing 100% cotton can reduce outbreaks on the side and chest. Staying cool and hydrated will accelerate the healing process.
Best Ointment To Put On Shingles
For non-internal cases of the Varicella zoster virus, certain shingles ointments can help soothe skin irritation. The best ointment to put on shingles should not use harsh chemicals or heavy dyes.
Shingles ointment can be found over-the-counter at most grocery stores or pharmacies in the United States. By using a topical ointment, the ingredients can start to work right away. For those who experience other symptoms such as headaches or fever, pain relievers usually work.
The Varicella-zoster virus can be extremely uncomfortable. If the virus is internal, even medication may not relieve all pain. Using certain over-the-counter topicals can ease itchy, sore, and burning sensations for an extended period.
How Serious Is Internal Infection?
An internal infection of the Varicella zoster can be extremely dangerous. Depending on where the infection spreads, this can cause multiple debilitating symptoms. Hearing loss, paralysis, and visual complications can all occur if this infection is not properly treated.
Many of the symptoms from an internal condition are temporary, but not all. For rashes that seem especially painful, visiting a doctor is crucial. Once testing has been provided, several pain relief options are available.