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Herpes Zoster
Pain in the nerves?
Did you ever get
chicken pox as a kid?

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella or the zoster virus which has been lying dormant following chicken pox earlier in life. The re-activation may be spontaneous, especially in the elderly, or could be due to immunosuppression as in patients of AIDS. Chicken pox may be contracted from a patient with shingles but the opposite never occurs.

Symptoms ::
Severe continuous pain in an around the affected nerve root. Later, the skin reddens and vesicles appear which eventually dry up but leave scars. The pain subsides as the eruption fades, though in older people neuralgia may follow. Sometimes, the infection moves to the eyes, leading to vision impairment. Occasionally, it invades the spinal cord or brain, causing myelitis or encephalitis.

Management ::
In the early stages of the rash, idoxuridine in a 5% solution may be applied to the skin. 0.1% drops are used for eye infections. In severe cases, anti-viral drugs like acyclovir are used as local cream, tablets or injection. Analgesics are not of much help, but drugs meant for the treatment of epilepsy are found useful. Transcutaneous nerve stimulation is sometimes effective. For more details, please consult your doctor.


 
 
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Herpes Zoster
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