Early Signs of Shingles – What Causes Shingles?
Many people do not know this, but shingles is actually caused by the Chickenpox virus. When the dormant chickenpox virus gets reactivated it can lead to a skin disease called herpes zoster or more commonly referred to as shingles. Some of the early signs of shingles include flu-like symptoms minus the fever, sensitivity to light and headaches. Your body might feel pain, itchy or tingling on the part of the body where the strip, band or spot where the rash will eventually appear. This will generally happen after just a few days or sometimes weeks.
This virus travels down your nerves and can therefore affect various parts of your body. The rash can form on either the left side or the right side, but never occurs on both. This rash will initially take the form of numerous blisters that, over time, will scab all over and then eventually clear up after a few weeks. This painful band of blisters and rashes are a clear sign that you possibly have shingles and should see a doctor. There are many treatments available including numerous over-the-counter medications that can offer some relief.
The Shingles Rash – The Stages of Shingles
This rash can affect only one side of your body, this is because the virus causing this disease travels through the same nerves that supplies the painful, burning sensation to your skin. This nerve runs on both sides of the body hence the reason why it can wrap itself around the right or left side of your body, normally from the mid region of your back to your chest. The rash can also appear on your face and therefore affecting only one eye. This infection can often affect more than one part of your body at one time.
The symptoms of shingles develop in stages including:
These symptoms appear about two to seven days prior to any blister or rash forming on your body. This stage is characterized by numbness, burning, tingling and pain on the affected nerves. Normally, this discomfort occurs on your back or chest, but it can also occur on your neck, head, face, belly leg or even your arm.
Various surveys done have suggested that many individuals experience some systemic complaints which then proceed to the outbreak, this includes:
v) Flu-like symptoms
vi) Swelling plus tenderness of your lymph nodes might occur too
This stage is characterized by appearance of a strip or band of rashes on any part of one side of your body. The fluid inside the formed blister appears clear in the beginning but after three to four days it becomes cloudy. Other symptom includes:
i) Pain which has been described by many patients as various “piecing needles inside your skin” which occurs around the rash.
ii) After exactly five days the blisters will start breaking up and oozing, this result in formation of a crust on top of it.
Normally, the rashes will heal after about 4 weeks leaving you with a scar.
Chronic Pain Stage
Also referred to as postherpetic neuralgia, chronic pain stage is a common complication among shingles patients and it can last for about 30 days or even extend for up to a year. This pain commonly affects your chest or fore head and it makes it difficult for anyone to sleep, eat or even do his daily chore. The symptoms include:
i) The patient becomes extremely sensitive to touch.
ii) A relentless pain which might affect you for years.
iii) A stabbing, aching and burning pain around the regions which was affected earlier with shingles rashes.
How Long Does Shingles Last?
This is the really frustrating part. Shingles occurs differently from person to person. It can last for a few weeks, months or even years. There are even some cases where it doesn’t go away, but these are very extreme cases.
If you are looking for shingles relief you should visit our shingles treatment page where we share some over-the-counter and home remedies that you can use to treat your shingles pain.