Be aware of "Herpes zoster" when your immune system is low, you have to be careful!

Health News

25 Jan 2024

Be aware of "Herpes zoster" when your immune system is low, you have to be careful!

     Herpes zoster is a viral infection caused by the same virus responsible for chickenpox, known as the varicella-zoster virus. It is believed that after recovering from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the nerve roots of the body without causing any symptoms. However, when the body's immunity weakens due to factors such as aging or underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or immunosuppression from diseases like HIV or medications, the virus can reactivate and lead to the development of herpes zoster.

What are the symptoms of herpes zoster?

  • It typically starts with itching, burning, or tingling sensations on the skin, often a few days before a red rash appears.
  • The rash consists of red patches that turn into fluid-filled blisters, usually arranged in a band or along nerve pathways, similar to the pattern seen in chickenpox.
  • Even slight touch or contact with clothing can cause pain and discomfort in the affected area.
  • Eventually, the blisters break, form ulcers, and crust over, usually within 7-10 days.
  • Some individuals may continue to experience pain along the affected nerve pathways even after the rash has healed.
  • In some cases, a person may have "zoster sine herpete," where they experience nerve pain without a visible rash. It's essential to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis in such cases.

Treatment for herpes zoster : 

  • Symptomatic treatment, such as pain relief medication, may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort.
  • Antiviral medications are often recommended for individuals with severe or early-onset symptoms to reduce the severity of the disease and speed up recovery.
  • In some cases, antiviral medications may be administered intravenously for individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS.

Preventing herpes zoster :

  • Maintaining overall good health and a strong immune system is essential.
  • Stress management and avoiding excessive stress can help reduce the risk of herpes zoster.
  • Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper nutrition can support a robust immune system.
  • Vaccination against herpes zoster is recommended, especially for adults aged 50 and older or individuals with certain underlying medical conditions that weaken immunity. It is crucial to follow your healthcare provider's recommendations regarding vaccination.

Is herpes zoster contagious?

      Herpes zoster can be transmitted to individuals who have never had chickenpox or have not been vaccinated by direct contact with the fluid from the herpes zoster blisters. Therefore, it's essential to separate individuals with shingles from those who have not had chickenpox, especially vulnerable populations such as the elderly, young children, or pregnant women.

      Vaccination can reduce the incidence of herpes zoster and help alleviate the severity of herpes zoster symptoms. It is recommended for elderly individuals aged 50 and above or adults aged 18 and older with chronic diseases or other factors that weaken the immune system. However, it depends on your doctor's advice. If you have a fever, develop a rash that resembles herpes zoster, or experience symptoms like eye inflammation, corneal ulcers, herpes zoster in the eye, or additional infections, do not delay; consult a doctor promptly to receive antiviral medication before dangerous complications occur.



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