What is herpes zoster?
What is herpes zoster? Herpes zoster (Shingles) is caused by the chickenpox virus (Varicella zoster virus – VZV). Although, this disease was fought in childhood, this virus remained dormant in nerve cells and was able to “awake” at any moment when the body had low defenses to combat it. (Cold, flu, stress, aging, AIDS, etc.).
The herpes zoster virus does not disappear completely after the first time that a person is infected but remains dormant for a shorter or longer period in the spinal cord until it returns to reactivate causing what is called a outbreak. For this reason we say that herpes zoster is a recurrent disease.
Herpes zoster can occur at any time of life, but it tends to occur most often in people over 60 years, people who had chickenpox before the age of 12 months or who have few defenses.
Causes of herpes zoster
How do you get herpes zoster? The cause of herpes zoster is the reactivation of the Varicella zoster virus that once caused chickenpox. It can also infect people who have not previously had chickenpox in which case it can produce very intense outbreaks of this disease.
Shingles can be spread easily through direct contact.
Symptoms of herpes zoster
Besides the possible symptoms of infection (fever, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, etc.), herpes zoster presents an initial sensation of burning or itching in a very determined place of the body, usually in one side of it and throughout the area served by a single nerve, what is know as a dermatome.
Subsequently, the main external manifestations firstly originate a reddening of the area, then blistering sores appear that turn into pus. They will generally dry in 15 or 20 days.
It usually appears on one side of the chest, but can be located anywhere in the body (face, neck, leg, genitals, etc.). It is specially dangerous when it affects the trigeminal nerve in the face, because it can cause facial paralysis, which can deliver twisted mouth, damage to the affected eye with a big difficulty to close it or even eye blindness. Sometimes it affects the ear causing deafness in one ear. When involving the tongue can cause loss of taste. If it affects the brain, it can give rise to brain inflammation (encephalitis)
In certain people who have few defenses, it can take place frequently and in many parts of the body.
This disease can be considered very unpleasant and painful when it produces continuous pain (postherpetic neuralgia), something that is very common in people over 60 years.
Prevention and treatment of herpes zoster
How do you prevent herpes zoster? The only possible prevention is that one that people with poor immune system or those who have not had chickenpox should keep.
It is very important for them not to come into contact with the wounds of those who suffer this infection. Pregnant women should also avoid this contact.
*More information about: How to treat herpes zoster
Is there a cure for herpes zoster?
Shingles is an incurable disease although there are treatments that can help remove pain or burning and prevent secondary infections that may result from injuries that herpes causes.
Early treatment is essential in case of involving the eyes, face, ears or other sensitive areas of the body.
The natural treatment for herpes zoster involves the use of a range of natural resources (phytotherapy, diet and supplements) that may help conventional treatments.
More information about herpes and its natural treatment.