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Shingles - Herpes Zoster

Shingles, is a viral disease causing a blistering skin rash that appears as stripes. Usually the rash only occurs on one side of the body and is preceded by general itching and headache. The virus that causes shingles, called herpes zoster, also causes the short duration rash, chickenpox. The chickenpox virus never leaves the body once an individual has the disease but instead remains dormant in the spinal nerves. Unexpectedly, in old age the herpes zoster virus flares-up and manifests as shingles. Usually shingles occurs in patients fighting an infection that has weakened the immune system. Patients with HIV or receiving anti-cancer therapy are at an especially high risk of developing the disease. Approximately five out of every thousand adults over the age of 65 contract shingles. The main clinical sign is the rash, but most people report intense pain that lasts for four weeks as a result of nerve irritation from the virus. Since the nerves are mainly affect by the virus, some people even report eye pain and temporary losses of vision as a result of a rash on the face. Most symptoms depend upon the location of the body presenting the rash.

Shingles Diagnosis

Since the rash is distinct a doctor can easily diagnose shingles with a physical examination. Often, a patient history is necessary to confirm that the individual had chickenpox. If the rash is not present or the rash is not the distinct line form on one side of the body, biochemistry tests can reveal the virus circulating in the body.

Shingles Treatment

Similar to chicken pox, the virus must run its course in the body before disappearing. Most treatment options focus on lessoning the pain, fever, and itching that accompanies shingles. Antivirals commonly reduce the spread of the virus in the body and decrease the duration of the rash but do not treat the residual nerve pain. Lotion helps relieve the itching while pain medications such as morphine or steroids can lesson the pain and help stop the inflammation. If the itching and pain does is not reduced with lotions, local anesthetic such as lidocaine can often reduce the irritation from the rash.

Shingles Management

After taking medication, the patients should stay out of direct sunlight which can irritate the rash. Proper rest is essential since stress is one of the main factors promoting further inflammation and outbreaks. The shingles virus is contagious to people who have never had chicken pox. Therefore, young children and adults who never had the virus should stay away from the individual with shingles.

Shingles Prevention

A new vaccine called Zostavax was recently developed and has been proven to reduce the occurrence of herpes in half of the people who are infected. Since 2007, adults over the age of 60 who have had chickenpox as a child are recommended to take the vaccine. Some research has also shown that adults who have had chickenpox develop some immunity to shingles by being around children who have chickenpox. Most importantly, a healthy immune system greatly decreases the chances of developing shingles and low stress environments minimize the risk of outbreaks.

Shingles - Resources


Chicken Pox / Shingles (Varicella - zoster)
VZV Research Foundation
36 East 72nd St
New York, NY 10021
Tel: 212-472-3181

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/shingles/detail_shingles.htm

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# of surveys: 3750
Last updated: 05/25/2018 9:32 AM,

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The doctor listened to you attentively

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The doctor explained treatment options

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The doctor explained treatment options

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Front desk performance

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Office comfort

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What WE DID WELL

(Answers:674)

Dr. Ringpfeil took her time and was attentive to my concerns. Writing all options on paper was very helpful and will help me when I start my regimen

#12017-09-15

Promptness of being seen by physician, excellent, friendly staff. Dr. really listened and offered a plan to resolve my problem.

#22011-10-17 11:50:17

All of my questions were answered.

#32018-02-11

Everyone was attentive and friendly. The music in the waiting room was beautiful.

#42018-02-04

The doctor and medical assistant took time to explain all of my treatment options and to answer all of my questions completely and honestly.

#52018-06-06

Very efficient!

#62017-11-03

There didn't seem to be an overload of other patients in the office, which is what I am normally used to from other offices.

#72011-01-04 15:49:01

Time spent with doctor was longer than expected. Doctor said she liked Retin-A Micro.

#82011-03-30 10:03:23

Dr took time to answer all my questions.

#92017-10-14

Dr. Ringpfeil took her time and was attentive to my concerns. Writing all options on paper was very helpful and will help me when I start my regimen

#102017-11-09

What can we do better?

(answers:373)

Cookies and Milk! Seriously, I love coming in and being seen promptly. More importantly, I like the fact that the doctor was not distracted and there was not a single interruption.

#12017-07-26

Can't think of a thing. I was very impressed.

#22010-09-27 14:45:03

Have an accessible examining table!!!

#32011-08-31 14:28:17

website access to new patients more visable on site

#42018-03-11

everything was great, i don't have any suggestions

#52010-10-25 11:08:34

I'm sending my whole family here. It's wonderful.

#62018-03-21

With such excellent service, there's nothing I can add to it. I am a very satisfied patient.

#72010-09-09 11:12:17

Appointments on Fridays

#82010-09-27 09:26:48

It was a very good visit! Thank You!

#92018-05-10

I thought that consideration could have been made re: pricing of skin tag removal since I only had one tag removed.

#102017-09-21
Customer Rating : 4.8

Based on 4 ratings