Shingles Complications and Management

shingles symptoms and sites of rashWhen suffering from shingles it is important to keep the skin clean so as to reduce the risk of further infection and to avoid reusing any contaminated items. In order to avoid repeat infection or spreading infection it is advised that nondisposable items are boiled in water or disinfected before reuse. Isolation is advised until the sores have sealed up so as not to infect anyone who has not been exposed to chickenpox. Shingles usually resolves within two to three weeks but some people do have lasting mobility issues after the virus due to nerve damage.

Long-Term Complications of Shingles

Postherpetic neuralgia is a condition that may arise after shingles and is caused by nerve trauma that has failed to heal properly. It is more common in those over the age of sixty and the pain may last months or even years. The pain can range from mild to severe and is just one possible complication of shingles. Where the virus affects the eyes it can cause blindness, and some may become deaf after shingles or develop Ramsay Hunt syndrome or encephalitis of sepsis. The risks of such a prognosis are reduced with prompt treatment, making it important to access medical care immediately upon symptoms of shingles, particularly where the immune system is weakened by medications or disease.

Avoiding Shingles

There are vaccinations against both chickenpox and shingles and complications are thought less likely should an adult vaccinated against shingles go on to develop the viral infection. Every year millions of people develop shingles and vaccines for the over-sixties are routinely recommended. It helps to avoid contact with those who are known to have shingles and to ensure plentiful rest, good nutrition and good stress management in order to promote good immunity and improve chances of successful treatment of shingles should it occur.

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