Shingles Nerve Damage

It’s estimated that approximately one million people in the United States get affected by shingles. Shingles is a viral disease caused by a virus known as herpes zoster, a similar virus to what causes chickenpox disease.

Shingles affects only people who have suffered from chickenpox. Its first time attack to the body leads to what is known as chickenpox. It remains in a patient’s body after recovering from chickenpox. After remaining in a patient’s body in a weak form in nerve cells, herpes zoster can become active again years later to cause what is known as shingles.

Estimations show that one person out of five who recover from shingles end up with what is known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). Post-herpetic neuralgia is a condition caused by shingles infection destroying nerves in the body. This is a condition which can cost a lot and lead to excruciating pain causing discomfort. The good thing is that PHN can actually be treated or prevented by some drugs.

According to some studies, some of the medications that can be used to reduce the risks of an individual getting affected by post-herpetic neuralgia are Valtrex, Zovirax and Famvir. Doctors recommend that these medications should be taken within three days following an attack by shingles.

Usually when an inactive herpes zoster virus gets activated, it begins damaging nerves and causing pain. PHN is a condition which can interfere with a person’s daily activities like dressing and sleeping. If you feel the following symptoms of post-herpetic neuralgia, you should see your doctor immediately for treatment.

  • Excessive and unending pain under the skin
  • Itchiness
  • Increased sensitivity to pain

It’s a condition which can also make a person feel extremely tired and unsettled the whole day if not treated immediately. Before treating you, your doctor may first assess your medical history to find out how many times you’ve been attacked by shingles.  Medication given after being attacked by PHN may fail to kill the pain completely but it can reduce it.

PHN causes a different pain, which in most cases cannot be reduced by the common painkillers like ibuprofen and paracetamol. After developing this condition, most people recover fully after a year and a half.

So far, PHN is the most serious condition caused by shingles. This condition manifests itself in the form of pain and itchiness after recovering from shingles. Immediately after being reactivated, herpes zoster virus multiplies within a nerve, causing swelling and damaging of that point in a nerve.

As a result of this damage, a person ends up feeling pain under the affected skin. As the virus moves along the nerve, it causes damage and what appears on the skin are rashes due to nerve damage by herpes zoster virus.

Some of the most common words post-herpetic neuralgia patients use to describe this kind of pain are as follows: sharp, throbbing, excruciating, burning and aching.

The best way to avoid PHN is to ensure that you get vaccinated against shingles which helps in preventing against shingles attack. If you are at a risk by any chance, the best thing you can do to prevent yourself is through vaccination.

If you have severe PHN you can always see a neurologist who can come up with the best way to help you. There are also pain experts out there who can help in one way or another. Shingles and PHN are two conditions that can make your life a living hell, especially if you are stressed or depressed.

Don’t give time to herpes zoster virus to continue making your life worse by damaging nerves. Immediate treatment can help soothe pains and itchiness caused by this virus. To reduce any chances of subsequent PHN, you should treat this condition immediately as you spot rashes on your skin.

This should be done within the first two days after noticing the rushes. You should not give this virus a chance at all to spread and make you develop sleeping problems, fatigue and pain.

Sometimes if the nerve that gets damaged by herpes zoster is the one controlling movement of muscles, the patient may end up experiencing weakness in movement and muscle support. It’s recommended that individuals aged over 60 should get vaccinated, whether or not such people have ever been suffered from shingles.
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