Shingles | Herpes zoaster
Shingles | Herpes zoaster is an infection characterized by painful rashes caused by varicella zoaster virus. It is the same virus that caused chickenpox. Even after the chickenpox is over ,the virus may live in your nervous system for years before reactivating as shingles. Shingles may also be referred as Herpes zoaster. Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body ,most often it appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso.
It is not life threatening ,but it can be very painful. Vaccine approved for shingles can help to reduce the risk of the disease to occur.
First and important symptoms of shingles are usually pain and burning. The pain is usually on one side of the body and occurs in small patches.
Characteristics of rashes are –
• Red patches
• Fluid filled blisters that break easily
• Rashes could be on face and ears also
• Rashes wraps around from the spine to the torso
Some more symptoms are –
• Muscle weakness
Depending on the location of the pain ,it can sometimes be mistaken for a symptom of problems affecting the heart ,lungs or kidneys.
It is caused by varicella zoaster virus ,the same virus that causes chickenpox . Anyone who had chickenpox may develop shingles .This virus can stay dormant for years in your nervous system after recovering from chickenpox. Eventually ,it may reactivate and travel along nerve pathways to your skin and come out as shingles. But not everyone who had chickenpox will develop shingles.
The reason for shingles is not clear but it may be due to lowered immunity to infection as you grow older.
Varicella zoaster is a part of a group of viruses called herpes virus which includes the viruses that causes cold sores and genital herpes , due to this ,it is also known as Herpes zoaster.
Is it contagious?
Shingles is not contagious ,but the virus that causes it can be spread to another person who has not had chickenpox and they could develop the disease. You can’t get shingles from someone with shingles ,but you can get chickenpox.
The virus is spread when someone comes into contact with an oozing blister.
To prevent spreading the virus if you have shingles ,be sure to keep the rash clean and covered. Dont touch the blisters and wash your hands often.
Risk Factors –
• People older than 50 yrs are at higher risk.
• Having certain diseases where immune system gets weak such as HIV/AIDS and cancer ,makes you more prone for shingles.
• On going cancer treatment like radiation or chemotherapy can lower your resistance to diseases.
• Drugs used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs like Prednisone can increase your risk of shingles.
• Post therapeutic neuralgia
• Vision loss
• Skin infection
• Neurological problems like encephalitis , facial paralysis
Shingles vaccine named shingrix & zoastrix may help prevent shingles.
Shingles can be diagnosed on the basis of history of symptoms like pain on one side of your body along with rashes and blisters.
• Antiviral medications like Acyclovir, famciclovir to reduce pain and speed recovery.
• Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to ease pain and swelling.
• Anti convulsants or antidepressents to treat prolonged pain.
• Anti histaminics like diphenhydramine to treat Itching .
• Numbing creams ,gels or patches such as lidocaine to reduce pain.
• Topical medication capsaicin (zoastrix) to help reduce risk of nerve pain called post therapeutic neuralgia.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
In Ayurveda shingles | herpes zoaster can be correlated with pittaja visarpa.
Line of treatment –
• Raktamokshan –
• Pradeha – oil like chandanadi taila application which gives soothing effect .
Beneficial Herbs –
• Lemon Herb –
A cup of herbal tea prepared by adding a few leaves of lemon herb is found effective in shingles infection.
• Chamomile –
It is antiviral herb and chamomile bath can be beneficial to get relief from its symptoms.
• Mullein –
Leaves as well as flowers of this herb provide relief from pain caused due to shingles.
• Neem –
It has antiviral properties.
• Giloy –
It improves immunity to fight against shingles.
• Manjishtha –
It acts as blood purifier and has antiviral properties.
• Mulethi –
It helps to reduce the risk of shingles and chickenpox. It can be used to relieve itching ,skin rashes and blistering.
Effective Medications –
• Ras Manikya
• Taal sindoor
• Kaishore gugglu
• Aarogyavardhini vati
• Gandhak rasayan
• Mukta pisti
• Mulethi churna
• Jatyadi ghrita
• Chandanadi taila
• Panchtikta ghrita gugglu
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