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Living With Shingles: What Are Your Options?


Jul 20, 2018

As we get older, minor aches and pains may become a daily part of living. With a tendency to just deal with it, a persistent and throbbing ache or pain on the skin surface which becomes bothersome could be the sign of something worse.

For individuals who are have persistent pain and develop a rash on the skin, there is a possibility this person has developed shingles. Like chicken pox, shingles is a viral condition caused by the herpes virus. Unlike chick pox, shingles affects the nerve root of the in the skin. In order for an individual to experience shingles, he or she must have had chicken pox at one point in their lifetime. However, not everyone who has chicken pox will ever get shingles. It has been reported that over 200,000 cases of shingles appear each year. The population which has been identified as the most vulnerable for developing shingles is 50 years and older.

Common Treatments for Shingles

Once an individual has chickenpox, the virus will remain inactive or what is referred to as dormant in the body. With shingles, the virus can become active at any time. There is no true reason why shingles can become active. The location on the body where shingles can be most prevalent is on: the arms, trunk of the body, neck and even on the face.

When an individual develops shingles, the ability to receive prompt medical treatment can help lessen the severity of the condition. By initiating an effective treatment plan for shingles as soon as possible can help the individual by:

  1. Assessing how advanced the case of shingles may be: this can include finding out what particular nerve pattern is involved. Since shingles has a nerve component, it can help determine the best course of treatment for possible nerve related pain
  2. Administration of anti-vitals to treat the outbreak and spreading of the rash. This treatment is important to reduce the spread of the rash which could last up for 30 days.
  3. There are also other medications which may be prescribed by a doctor. It’s important to speak with the doctor as they may contain narcotics or require injections.

If the patient does not receive immediate treatment, then shingles can begin, there could be some potential problems such as the development of post nerve pain. Unfortunately, this type of pain could also happen after treatment has been done. There can also be scarring after the rash has cleared up.

Important Facts To Know

Since there is no cause for why an individual will develop shingles, there are a few things for individuals especially 50 and older to consider:

  • Chicken pox vaccinations given to younger individuals can help decrease or lessen the chance of developing shingles.
  • Shingles is not a live virus. It remains dormant in the body until it is activated by an unknown cause.
  • Unlike chicken pox, shingles is not contagious. The virus can not be transmitted from one individual to another.
  • An antiviral option is the best course of treatment to lessen the effects of shingles.
  • The rash could last up to 30 days.
  • Post nerve pain may or may not develop. This pain could last for days or even years and differs from every individual.
  • Currently, there is a shingles vaccination offered for individuals 60 years and older who have never had shingles. Also, this vaccination can be given to individuals in the same age group who had shingles but no signs of the active disease. It is not recommended for individuals who are under the age of 60.

The information contained in this article should not be used to replace the advice, care, diagnosis or treatment from a medical doctor, certified personal trainer, therapist, dietitian, or nutritionist.