Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is a skin rash that can be uncomfortable, itchy and even painful. Shingles usually occurs in older adults and is a condition that affects a small area on the body or face. Shingles often lasts a few weeks. While it is usually not dangerous, it can be serious, so one should seek out medical attention to alleviate the symptoms and quicken the recovery time.


  • Causes: Shingles is actually caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, called the varicella zoster virus. As a child recovers from the chickenpox, the virus becomes dormant (inactive) in the body. The virus remains dormant into adulthood, and sometimes, forever. However, in some cases, the virus resurfaces when an adult immune system has been weakened due to factors such as stress, illness or an injury. It’s also more common to get shingles as you get older and your natural childhood immunity begins to fade. For all these reasons, while most healthy adults are perfectly capable of caring for a child with chickenpox, it’s not a bad idea for those at higher risk of contracting shingles to avoid direct exposure.


  • Symptoms: Symptoms of shingles often occur in a few stages. At first, the patient may experience flu-like symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, sensitivity to light, general achiness, or fever. Next, the patient may develop itchiness or pain in a particular area, and eventually, a small strip of a rash appears. The rash then forms into clusters of blisters which eventually fill with fluid. The skin lesions can be contagious, so they should be covered and caution should be used around infants, small children and the elderly. Occasionally, a patient may only experience a mild rash or may not develop a rash at all. Thus, some cases of shingles are a lot easier to identify than others, especially compared to the telltale cases of chickenpox of childhood.


  • Treatment: While shingles can go away on its own, the recovery time and length of discomfort can be shortened under proper medical care. Shingles is usually treated with antiviral medication that speeds up the healing time for the rash and also helps with any pain accompanied with the virus. While mild symptoms may sound like a blessing, late diagnosis greatly reduces the effectiveness of these antivirals. At home, it’s important for the patient to keep any open sores from the blisters clean. If the lesions are occurring near the eye or tip of the nose, the patient should seek immediate medical attention.


  • Self-Care: Again, more than just the virus itself, shingles are often associated with stress, illness or injury. Even after the infection is fought off and the symptoms have subsided, it’s important to consider the factors leading up to the illness. Stress and pre-existing injuries can cause things a lot worse than shingles. More to this point, the body does develop a new immunity of sorts, but this immunity is also susceptible to failure in patients with compromised immune systems and poor overall health. While around one out of every four people will get a case of shingles, it’s exceedingly rare to get shingles more than twice.

Why Choose Zel for Shingles Treatment

Shingles can be a lot worse and a lot more painful than garden-variety chickenpox. Get a confident diagnosis, and get back to feeling better sooner rather than later with our dermatologist and skin care clinic. Contact us to schedule an appointment or virtual visit today.

*Results may vary per patient. Services vary by location.