Shingles Symptoms, Causes and Complications

A person who has had chickenpox may be vulnerable to Shingles. Know the symptoms and causes here.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Jun 26, 2021Updated at: Jun 26, 2021
Shingles Symptoms, Causes and Complications

Diseases which are caused by virus can prove to be very fatal and harmful for health. One of the biggest examples of this is Corona Virus which shook the entire world and brought it to knees. One of the most common virus infections which are noticed is chickenpox. Virus of chickenpox infects your nervous system and lives there even after your symptoms are gone. This virus later causes shingles, which is also a virus infection. This virus infection is also commonly known as herpes zoster. It affects your skin and causes burning sensation. Let us understand this disease better to prevent it from happening. 

Shingles Infection

Shingles is caused by virus varicella-zoster, which is also responsible for chickenpox. It is an infection which infects your nervous system and occurs mostly some time after you have chicken pox. Dr. Vineet Tripathi, Senior Dermatolist from BNK Hospital, Kanpur explains more about this disease. He says that people develop shingles infection but it is usually relieved within 3-5 weeks. This is an infection which might look similar to many other skin infections but the important part to notice in this is that it occurs only on one side of the body.

shingles_infection_on_back

This type of viral infection develops red rashes on the skin and causes pain and burning sensation in that part. If you have shingles, then you may also have difficulty in sleeping and slowly develop blisters on either side of the body. It usually occurs on neck, face and torso however in some cases it can develop on buttocks, back and legs as well. Although it is not contagious, a person who has not had chickenpox before may catch this disease if that person comes in contact with oozing blisters.

Symptoms of Shingles

Person with shingles virus infection reports of the following symptoms-

  • Red patches on one side of the body
  • Pain and burning sensation
  • Fluid-filled blisters that break easily
  • Itching
  • Blisters on face and ears
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Headache 

These are some common symptoms which occur when virus develops in the body. This can cause great discomfort and irritability to the person suffering from it. 

Also Read- Pinched Nerve: Causes And Remedies To Get Rid Of The Pain

Risk Factors of Shingles Infection

In some cases, the infection spreads to certain parts of the body from which it becomes difficult to avoid permanent damage. This can cause serious health issue and impairment of certain types. Here are some complications which can occur due to shingles virus.

Pain or Rash in Eyes- Shingle’s infection can sometimes infect the eyes and it needs to be treated immediately to avoid permanent damage to eyes. This occurs to roughly 15-20 percent of people suffering from shingles. It may cause blisters in eyelids, forehead and on tip of the nose. This may result to burning sensation in your eyes, redness and swelling which may further cause blurred vision if not treated on time. Without treatment it can cause permanent vision loss.

shingles_eye_infection

Loss of Hearing, Taste and Dizziness- Sometimes blisters can be formed on your tongue however this is very rarely to occur. In other cases it can create rashes on your ear that can spread the infection and cause loss of hearing, issues with balance and weakness in facial muscles. It can also affect your taste and if they happen inside the mouth, it can be very painful to eat food.

Bacterial Infections- Shingles can cause bacterial infection in parts of body. This makes the skin red and swollen in that area and you can feel the skin getting warm. This may further complicate the health situation of the person and it may take the person longer to get treated.

What Causes Shingles Infection?

Shingle is caused by varicella-zoster virus. It is most likely that you can develop shingles if you had been infected with chickenpox earlier. The virus gets activated again inside the body which leads to shingles. People develop this viral infection because to following factors-

  • Weak immune system
  • Emotional stress
  • Aging
  • People undergoing cancer treatment or major surgery

symptoms_shingles

Is Vaccination Available for Shingles?

There are two vaccinations available to prevent shingles from occurring. Both of these have been approved by Food and Drug Administration and are the only way to treat or prevent shingles virus infection. There is no treatment available yet which can totally treat shingles however few medications are there which can bring down the symptoms of this viral infection. 

Zostavax and Shingrix are two vaccines available for preventing shingles disease. Zostavax is a live vaccine that contains weakened form of varicella-zoster virus. This is not very effective but can prevent the viral infection from occurring. The other vaccine is comparatively new and has over 90 percent effectiveness in preventing shingles disease. It also lasts longer than zostavax vaccine.

Both of them have allergic reactions as side-effects. However there have not been any complications because of the side-effects of the vaccine. Allergic reactions also vary from person to person.

Also Read- What Are The Conditions That Can Trigger Dyspnea?

Conclusion

Shingles infection is a viral infection which is caused by same Varicella-zoster virus which is also responsible for chickenpox. In most of the cases, the virus of chicken pox remains the nervous system and gets activated when the system weakens. This results in person having major blisters on one side of the body which may be very painful and uncomfortable. It can also cause complications at certain points that may affect the person’s hearing ability, taste, vision and a lot more. Know the symptoms to be aware of this viral infection and get vaccinated if you feel you have changes of acquiring it from anywhere.

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