Shingles symptoms are often confused with the symptoms of other conditions so it is very important to determine whether it is really Shingles or not. What is also very important is to recognize these symptoms in time so the treatment can start as soon as possible. That is the only way to minimize the consequences that can sometimes be quite severe.
One should be aware that this illness is actually impossible to cure, but the complications and unpleasant symptoms can be reduced to a minimum. The virus that causes Shingles stays inside the body but remains inactive, so the signs and symptoms usually go away and do not make serious problems to a patient if treated in time.
Symptoms of Shingles
Here are some of the most common symptoms of Shingles:
Fever and headaches (you can only imagine how many conditions have these for symptoms, so it is no wonder that the diagnosis cannot be set only upon these two symptoms);
Pain, numbness and itching (however, the pain is not always present);
Rash (this symptom tells more about one’s condition).
The rash is characteristic and doctors can easily tell if it is Shingles. It can appear on the patient’s face, torso but on other body parts as well. After some time this rash changes into blisters covered with fluid and becomes rather painful. After a week or two the crusts will develop to cover these blisters; eventually they will fall off and the skin will regenerate. In most of the patients the skin will be completely recovered after some time, but there were cases of scarring or skin discoloration);
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, there can be some other symptoms like eye problems (ocular inflammation, conjunctivitis, bad vision, pain etc). There were cases of ear damages (these are rare but possible).
In some patients the pain can continue even though the rash is completely gone. This condition is called a postherpetic neuralgia and can last for months, even years in severe cases. It can be treated by various methods. Doctor will prescribe appropriate medications and therapy. Post herpetic neuralgia occurs mostly in older patients (meaning older than fifty). This group of patients is more sensitive to the symptoms of Shingles. Their immune system is usually weaker than that of younger patients so their recovery lasts longer.
Keep in mind that this condition may leave consequences. Just 70 years ago this illness was not thoroughly studied and was not even considered serious. But in the early 1940s, some cases have shown that there can be severe complications caused by this infection. Experts also found that the chances of getting Shingles are greater in older patients.
Today we know much more about the Shingles and the virus that causes it, so we can do more to prevent this. We can also do much more when it comes to treatment. There are several different ways to treat this infection and many medications available. The choice of methods and drugs to be used depends on individual circumstances. You should never take up any action before you see your doctor.