The chickenpox virus, more specifically called the “varicella-zoster virus,” doesn’t just cause the childhood rash disease known as chicken pox. It is also responsible for shingles or shinglesa disease that 30% of people over the age of 50 will develop it at least once in their lifetime.
But if we talk about the varicella-zoster virus, the statistics are more convincing. More than 90% of people over the age of 14 have at some point in their lives come into contact with this viral agent.
Is shingles dangerous? Is there a way to kill the virus once it’s latent in the body? We analyze it.
I followedIn the scientific study by Cintia Muñoz-Quiles et al.1 cEvery 3 people over the age of 50 develop shingles, colloquially known as shingles. And at the same time, 1 in 10 of the same age group will have postherpetic neuralgia (the severe pain that persists in the shingles area after the lesions have disappeared).
The authors underline this people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk. ANDPatients who are immunosuppressed for cough may be up to 50% more likely to have shingles than the rest of the population.
Spain in particular record up to 559 new cases of shingles per 100,000 population, in some communities. And the data becomes more prevalent as older people are taken into account.
From the age of 60, those who had chickenpox in childhood are more likely to experience a reactivation of the virus, which has remained dormant in the body. 1 in 5 people will experience this reactivation. And once they’ve had shingles, 6 percent of that group get it again.
What is Shingles?
Shingles is reactivationvaricella-zoster virus ion which hit has been latent in the body. Once the human being is infected, almost always in childhood, the viral agent remains inactive in the body, particularly in neurons.
There it can remain for decades. And it is not necessary that the patient noticed chickenpox infection in his childhood. Even asymptomatic cases or with mild signs are susceptible to the virus that “hides” and remains latent.
In a situation of lowered defenses, due to stress, drugs or age, the virus reactivates. and it does causing a rash with small blisters that can appear in different areas of the body such as the intercostal space, the back and even the face (eyes, ears and mouth).
This is the conacid shinglesThat It presents with stinging, stinging, and intense pain along the path of the blisters. Which coincides with the path of the affected nerve.
It is normal for pain to appear before the outbreak. Once the vesicles appear, they begin to break down asynchronously, encrusting where they were. At 14-21 days the scabs fall off spontaneously.
Sometimes there is a fever, butor not always. There may also be body aches or headaches.
The least common presentations of shingles are those found on the face and abdomen. In particular, the ocular form is one of the most painful.
Postherpetic neuralgia, a dreaded complication
The normal and expected evolution of herpes zoster is 1 month. After this period, most patients are symptom-free and all skin lesions have disappeared.
However, up to a third of those affected may develop a complication known as postherpetic neuralgia. It is a very severe pain that persistsdespite the disappearance of the blisters.
The feeling of the burning lasts more than 3 months in this complication and the patients also have increased sensitivity in the area. So the rubbing of clothing also intensifies the discomfort.
It’s clear thatthere the quality of life suffers considerablyAboveall for its prolongation over time, reaching up to 4 years in the most serious cases.
Is there any cure?
The diagnosis is usually confirmed by a rash.even if in some cases the confirmation takes place through specific tests.
There are antiviral treatments that must be used within the first 72 hours of the onset of herpes zoster. It is also recommended to keep the rash clean and dry to avoid secondary skin infections.
At the moment, there is no cure to eliminate the virus from our bodybut it is a disease that can be prevented.
What should I do if I suspect I have shingles?
Once shingles symptoms begin, Ideally, consult a health professional to start treatment. Early antivirals could shorten the duration of symptoms.
At home, each patient should be responsible for the care of their own wounds caused by blisters and vesicles. You have to keep your skin dry to avoid superinfections.
It is a painting that requires a lot of patience to go through.. That’s why it’s important to be informed and follow the recommendations of professionals.
For more information, see www.virusherpeszoster.es
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