Shingles is also referred to as Herpes zoster and is a form of infection that affects individual nerves and the skin surrounding them. It is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, called the varicella-zoster virus. It is thought that one in four people will experience this condition at some point in their life, making an estimated 1 million cases of shingles every year in the US, so it’s useful to understand what this condition is and how you can identify the problems when they arrive.
So, what causes shingles? Usually there is no known ‘cause’ for the varicella-zoster virus to begin multiplying. It is believed though that it is more common during times of stress, tiredness or illness however when the immune system is likely to be suppressed.
There is currently no known way to completely cure shingles. However, there are numerous known methods for managing the symptoms and making them less unpleasant and it is also a self-limiting condition, meaning that it will ‘cure itself’ given time.
In this post, we will look at the most common shingles symptoms so that you can identify the condition and seek the correct management methods to help ease them.
The number one symptom of shingles is of course the rash, which is what most people will envisage when they hear the word ‘shingles’. However, this normally does not begin right away and instead you will usually feel some pain and discomfort prior to the rash becoming visible.
This pain is normally an acute, localized numbness and tingling. This will be found on a specific part of the body. Remember, the infection is affecting a specific nerve, and so the symptoms will be felt where that nerve is located.
Commonly, they are felt on the back. However, it might also be noticed down one side of the body.