Many people dont know what is shingles and get this condition confused with many other skin conditions. Shingles, also known as ‘herpes zoster’, is a disease caused by a virus, resulting in a painful and itchy rash that is usually confined to just one side of the body.

Though the rash can appear on multiple parts of the body, this is quite uncommon, and may be a sign of a different illness instead. Diagnosis by a physician is paramount to making sure that the correct treatment is given to guarantee a quick and proper recovery.

Shingles is a relatively common viral condition, with around 2.5 people per 1000 diagnosed with shingles every year. However, if not diagnosed quickly, shingles can lead to unnecessary problems. If shingles treatment is started within three days of the rash appearing, the recovery is usually swift and without complications. The rash can be completely healed within two weeks, similar to the length of the chicken pox illness that this illness is preceded by.

Diagnosis and Symptoms of the Virus

Unfortunately, some of the symptoms in the early stages of shingles are common to many different viral diseases and other illnesses. This makes diagnosis sometimes tricky, what especially if the characteristic rash has not yet appeared. Early symptoms include but are not limited to fever, itching, tingling and headache.

A couple of days after the symptoms start, the rash begins to appear. With its distinct and unique appearance and texture, the rash allows a correct and formal diagnosis to be made by a physician.

As time progresses, the rash caused by the shingles virus evolves and changes. The skin and rash may initially look puffy when the rash begins, but over time the blisters slowly individualize and crust over. It is definitely not a good idea to squeeze the blisters involved in the rash. Within two weeks the rash is usually gone, though this can be longer in some cases. If concerned that the rash is not going, consult a physician for further advice.

Prevention of Shingles Can Be Possible

A vaccine that works to help prevent the shingles disease developing is on the market. If you wish to be vaccinated, it would be a good idea to ask your physician for more details. Half the potential cases of shingles are prevented by appropriate use of this readily available vaccine. In addition, postherptic neuralgia is decreased to roughly one third of its original commonness when vaccinations occur. The vaccine has already been trialled and tested in the older age ranges, however younger people may also benefit from immunization.

When a child has chicken pox, adults around it who have already had chicken pox benefit because their immune system receives a boost towards defending successfully against the varicella zoster virus that causes shingles. This is one benefit of not immunizing children, in addition to the fact that their own immune systems will be strengthened by having the virus.

Having a healthy diet with a regular intake of fresh fruit, vegetables and necessary minerals also helps reduce the risks associated with having the virus. The frequency the virus occurs is reduced by almost 70% when a healthy diet and lifestyle are enjoyed.