High chances to catch Shingles after recovery from Chickenpox

July 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Tips for Ayurveda

What is Shingles?

shingles symptomsShingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus – the same virus that causes chickenpox. After recovery from chickenpox, the virus remains in the body and lies dormant in the central nervous system; which is made up of the brain and spinal cord. The virus may reappear in people of all ages who have previously had chickenpox.

The blisters are usually limited to one or more bands, called dermatomes, on one side of the trunk, around the waistline, or clustered on one side of the face.

The inactive virus may not cause problems for years, if ever. Shingles is most common in people over the age of 50, about half of all cases occur in men and woman age 60 years and older. The risk of disease increases as a person gets older.

How does Shingles occur?

Most people have chickenpox at some stage (usually as a child). The virus does not completely go after you have chickenpox. Some virus particles remain inactive in the nerve roots next to your spinal cord. They do no harm there, and cause no symptoms. For reasons that are not clear, the virus may begin to multiply again (reactivate). This is often years later. The reactivated virus travels along the nerve to the skin to cause shingles.

Typically individuals will develop one episode of shingles in their lifetime. The pain from shingles can be mild to severe, including burning, shooting pain or itching generally on one side of the body, does not cross over the midline of the body and visualizes as a rash or blisters. This indicates the dormant virus has reactivated and traveled from the nerves along a path to the skin, causing inflammation along the way. This pain can sometimes last for months post healing.

What are symptoms of Shingles?

The varicella-zoster virus usually affects one nerve only, on one side of the body. Symptoms occur in the area of skin that the nerve supplies. The usual symptoms are pain and a rash. Occasionally, two or three nerves next to each other are affected.

The pain is a localized band of pain. It can be anywhere on your body, depending on which nerve is affected. The pain can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms of shingles can include: fever, headache, sick feeling, extreme weakness, nausea, chills, fatigue, joint pain, faint due to weakness, etc.

The usual course of the illness is outlined below.

  • Pain, tingling, numbness, itching on a specific part of the skin, on a single side of the body.
  • A rash will typically appear 1-5 days after the pain begins.
  • Red spots emerge that develop into itchy fluid-filled blisters.shingles symptoms
  • The rash has the appearance of chickenpox but only on the band of skin supplied by the affected nerve.
  • The rash may involve the face, eyes, mouth and ears in some cases.
  • Sometimes the blisters merge, forming a solid red band that looks like a severe burn.
  • New blisters may arise for up to a week.
  • Inflammation/swelling may be caused in the soft tissue under and around the rash.
  • People with lesions may feel spasms of pain at the gentlest touch or breeze
  • The blisters will gradually dry up, form scabs or crusts and begin to fade in 7-10 days
  • Minor scarring may occur where the blisters have been.
  • A shingles episode can often last between 2 and 4 weeks.

Is Shingles contagious?

Shingles is not spread through coughing or sneezing but through direct contact with fluid from the filled blisters. Before the blisters develop and after the crusts form, the person is not contagious.

You can catch chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have not had chickenpox before. But most adults and older children have already had chickenpox, and so are immune. You cannot get shingles from someone who has shingles.

Preventative measures for Shingles include:

  • Keeping the rash covered
  • Minimal scratching or contact with the rash
  • Regular hand-washing
  • Avoiding contact with Pregnant women who have never had chickenpox or varicella vaccine
  • Avoiding contact with Premature or low birth weight infants

Ayurvedic treatment for Shingles

Many people opt for Ayurvedic treatment for Shingles because it has no side effects. Ayurveda, which is often called the Mother of all Medicine recommends few ointments on the skin. One of the most common herbal remedies for shingles includes application of a paste of turmeric powder on the affected area. Being a natural antiseptic, turmeric speeds up healing and relieves the sufferer from pain. The other popular home remedy is application of 1 cup of aloe vera gel mixed with 1 tspn of honey. Apply on the affected area 2 times a day.

Shingles is less contagious than chickenpox. The risk of spreading the virus is low if the rash is covered. However the infected person may require rest due to body pains and a general ill feeling.

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