Chickenpox is a common infection that affects many children. But very few people know its long-term impact on the body. In many cases, people who were once infected with chickenpox experience a painful condition called shingles. This article looks into its cause, symptoms and treatment.
Causes of Shingles
In people who suffered from chickenpox, the virus remains in an inactive state. As ageing happens and the immune system weakens, this inactive virus gets activated, causing shingles.
With ageing, the immunity of the body takes a downward turn. People who suffered from chickenpox and went on to develop other health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, or HIV are at a higher risk of suffering from shingles, as these diseases further decrease immunity.
Symptoms of Shingles
Symptoms of shingles include:
- The pain usually begins first and is severe because it is nerve pain.
- Rashes may appear only on one side of the chest, back, face, neck, arm, or leg.
- Rashes look like a band of reddish blisters filled with fluid, which later burst and start to crust.
Rashes go away, however, the pain can persist. This pain can affect the daily activities of ageing adults. The pain can also make a patient’s life difficult, increasing their dependence on caregivers.
In some patients, shingles can also lead to permanent scarring. When cases become complicated, a patient can show symptoms such as vision loss, hearing loss or weakness in the hands, and legs.
Treatment of Shingles
On the identification of shingles, immediate medical attention is required, especially to relieve pain and prevent further complications. Specific antiviral medicines are available which can treat shingles. But for the treatment to be effective, it needs to begin at an early stage. This condition can also be prevented with the help of a vaccine.
There are a lot of myths surrounding shingles. As a result, people do not go for diagnosis and treatment. Rather, they rely on local remedies, which are inadequate to treat this condition. It is important that people above 50 years of age, having a history of chickenpox recognise the symptoms of shingles and seek medical attention without delay.
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