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Shingles disease; What are the causes and symptoms of this disease, how can it be diagnosed, and what are the treatment methods available at the Nadaha Center in Hurghada?

Shingles Or Herpes Zoster is a viral disease caused by infection with the chickenpox virus, which also results in chickenpox, and its symptoms are the appearance of a rash that affects the nerves, with severe pain.

It affects one side of the body, unlike chickenpox, whose symptoms are the appearance of a rash that causes itching, and affects a certain part of the body and then spreads to the rest of the body, but with the Freshness Center for Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetology in Hurghada, these cases are treated professionally.

What is shingles disease?

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral disease characterized by a painful, blistering rash that occurs when a dormant chickenpox infection suddenly becomes active. Chickenpox is caused by the varicella virus, which belongs to the same family of viruses that cause genital and oral herpes.

After infection with chickenpox, the virus enters a dormant period in which it is dormant in certain nerves in the body. Later in life, the virus can reactivate spontaneously and cause the painful, ulcerated condition known as shingles.

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When a person has chickenpox, their immune system clears the varicella virus from most areas of the body. However, the virus will remain dormant within a group of nerve cells called a spinal ganglion (also known as a spinal nerve root). When reactivation occurs, diffusion occurs over the cutaneous segment - an area of skin served by that spinal nerve.

There are a total of 30 spinal nerve roots with the cutaneous segment on both sides of the body, and they are broadly classified as:

  • Cervical nerves: serve the head, neck, shoulders, collarbone, upper back, arms, hands, and fingers.
  • Thoracic nerves: serve the upper chest, back, upper forearm, upper abdomen, and lower abdomen.
  • and the lumbar nerves, which serve the lower back, buttocks, hips, thighs, knees, calves, and tops of the feet.
  • The sacral nerves, which serve the lower back, backs of the legs, buttocks, genitals, heels, and toes.
  • The coccygeal nerves, which serve the area around the coccyx.

In addition to cutaneous shingles, shingles can also cause:

  • Ocular herpes zoster, which travels from the trigeminal nerve to the optic nerve that serves the fore hand, eyelid, and eye.
  • Auricular herpes zoster, also known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome, travels from the facial nerve to the vestibulocochlear nerve in the ear.

Who gets shingles?

Anyone with varicella can get shingles. It can occur in childhood, but is more common in adults, especially older adults. People with different types of cancer have a 40% risk of developing this disease, and people with shingles rarely get it again, and people with weakened immunity often get it.

Causes of herpes zoster

After the initial infection, varicella, the varicella-zoster virus remains dormant in the spinal dorsal root ganglion neurons for years before it becomes reactivated and migrates to the sensory nerves of the skin to cause shingles.

It is not clear why shingles affects specific nerve fibres, and the triggering factors are sometimes identified, namely:

  • pressure on the nerve roots.
  • Radiation therapy at the level of the affected nerve root
  • spine surgery.
  • infection.
  • Injury (not necessarily to the spine).
  • Contact with a person infected with chickenpox, or shingles.

Symptoms of shingles

The rash associated with shingles often occurs on the trunk and buttocks, but may also appear on the arms, legs or face. While symptoms may vary from child to child, the most common include:

  • Skin hypersensitivity in the area where shingles appears.
  • A mild rash that appears after five days and first appears as small red spots that turn into blisters.
  • The blisters turn yellow, often leaving small pitted scars.
  • The rash disappears within one to two weeks.
  • The rash is usually localized on one side of the body.

How does shingles spread?

Direct contact with the fluid in the blisters may cause chickenpox (but not shingles) in people who have never had chickenpox. This is because both diseases are caused by the same virus. In addition to direct contact, shingles can also be spread through the air through coughing and sneezing if the blisters are in the infected person's mouth.

People with shingles who have blisters should not communicate with people who haven't had chickenpox or are unsure if they have chickenpox.

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How is shingles diagnosed?

The disease can be diagnosed by the way the rash is distributed over your body. The blisters usually appear in a strip on one side of your body. Shingles can also be diagnosed in the laboratory using a scraping, or swab of the fluid that comes out of the blisters.

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shingles treatment

Shingles can be treated with antiviral medications. However, treatment must begin within 72 hours of the rash appearing for maximum benefit. If you think you have shingles, seek prompt medical attention. Most treatments are aimed at reducing the initial pain and rash, and may include other medications that can be used to help. In relieving symptoms, pain relievers and topical ointments.

Shingles on the upper half of the face can cause severe damage to the eye, so medical evaluation should be sought immediately. It is also important to keep the affected skin site clean to avoid secondary bacterial infections, and to avoid pricking or scratching the blisters.

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When do you go to the doctor?

If you suffer from a bullous rash, you want to visit a dermatologist at a freshness center in Hurghada as soon as possible. If you have shingles, starting prescription treatment within two to three days of developing the rash can significantly lead to:

  • Minimizing symptoms, such as pain.
  • Reducing the amount of time you have shingles.
  • Reducing the risk of developing other health problems, such as a condition called postherpetic neuralgia, which is pain that can persist for months or years after the rash clears up
  • If you've had a rash for longer than 2 or 3 days, it's still important to see your doctor.

Shingles can lead to health problems other than long-term pain. For example, when the rash of shingles appears on your face, it can affect your eyesight, so treatment is necessary to preserve your eyesight.

A small number of people with shingles develop pneumonia, hearing loss or a disease that causes the brain to enlarge, so it's important to find these signs early, so you can receive treatment.

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How can shingles be prevented?

The CDC recommends vaccination at age 50-60 for all individuals who have had chickenpox.

Zostavax is a single-dose live virus vaccine recommended starting at age 60. Shingerix is a newer, non-live vaccine given in two doses starting at age 50 that has been found to be more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. Zostavax is less effective; 50% effective in preventing shingles, 67% effective in preventing shingles Post-herpetic neuralgia.

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Usually, the dermatologist - Dr. Amani Al-Tawabti - at the Nadara Center for Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetology in Hurghada examines the shingles patient, and prescribes the appropriate treatment methods for his health condition, while providing possible prevention methods for individuals who have previously had chickenpox.

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