Breaking down shingles: The painful pores and skin situation defined

Shingles, a painful and debilitating sickness, impacts over 120,000 Australians annually. Right here’s what causes it and finest methods to handle it.

Shingles, also referred to as herpes zoster, is a painful sickness that one in three individuals will develop of their lifetime.

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It’s brought on by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, which implies you may solely get it should you’ve had chickenpox previously.

An estimated 122,000 Australians endure from shingles annually – right here’s what you’ll want to know.

What does shingles appear and feel like?

In line with infectious ailments doctor Professor Tony Cunningham, shingles can seem wherever on the physique.

“If it’s on the torso, it often extends in a line across the torso and often solely covers half, from the midline on the entrance to the midline on the again,” Prof Cunningham, of the Westmead Institute for Medical Analysis, instructed Home of Wellness radio.

“If it’s within the eye or head area, it’s often a line up over the hair; if it’s on the arm or the leg, it’s often a line up the arm or the leg.”

The primary signs of shingles embody:  

  • Ache, burning or tingling
  • Crimson rash
  • Fluid-filled blisters with the rash
  • Itching
  • Sensitivity to the touch
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Is shingles contagious?

You may’t catch shingles from one other particular person.

Nevertheless, should you haven’t beforehand had chickenpox, then it’s doable to contract chickenpox from somebody who has shingles.

Transmission can happen via direct contact with open sores or blisters from the rash.

An individual with shingles is contagious till their blisters scab.

Who can get shingles?

Shingles can have an effect on anybody who has beforehand had chickenpox however is extra frequent amongst these aged 50 and over.

“About one third of individuals encounter shingles of their lifetime; when you recover from the age of 85, about 50 per cent of individuals do,” Prof Cunningham says.

Prof Cunningham says the opposite group at most danger are those that have impairment of their immune system, both naturally as a result of they’ve had leukemia, a transplantation or chemotherapy,  or as a result of they’re on immune-suppressive medication comparable to steroids or JAK inhibitors.

What’s the remedy for shingles?

The virus could be handled with an antiviral drugs to offer reduction from signs.

Prof Cunningham says it’s vital to see your GP as quickly as you believe you studied you might have shingles.

“You should get to shingles throughout the first three days of that rash showing; (it’s) actually vital to get to your physician ideally throughout the first 24 hours,” he says.

Are you able to get shingles twice?

Sadly, having had shingles as soon as doesn’t defend you from getting it once more so, sure,

you will get shingles twice – and even thrice in uncommon instances.

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Is there a shingles vaccine?

Sure – Zostavax and Shingrix are the 2 vaccines obtainable in Australia.

Vaccination in opposition to shingles is beneficial for everybody over 60 and is supplied without cost for these over 70.

Are you extra prone to shingles should you’ve had Covid?

Analysis on hyperlinks between Covid-19 and shingles are underway, with preliminary research discovering there’s a hyperlink between the 2 ailments.

“Latest experiences have proven this, however it’s not as marked as immuno-suppression,” Prof Cunningham says.

Written by Kate Salemme.