How is shingles a severe condition? In most cases, shingles is not a life threatening condition, but it should be treated as soon as possible. Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), a virus that causes chickenpox. It is transferred through insect bites, direct contact with contaminated objects, and through sexual intercourse.
The virus affects the nerves that surround your spine, brain, and heart. The nerves are connected to the skin, bladder, and kidneys. When shingles rash appears, it triggers an inflammatory reaction which destroys the nerves. This condition may damage the nerves to the point where they cannot properly pass signals from the brain to the body.
The causes of shingles vary but are often caused by the same things that cause other viral infections like chickenpox and flu. The virus invades the skin through insect bites. People with a weakened immune system are at the greatest risk of developing the infection. Children are also susceptible because their nervous systems are less developed. If a child has been exposed to the infection through parents or care takers, the infection can affect the developing nervous system of the child.
The virus invades the nerves in the skin through tiny needle-like projections called papillae. The papillae appear red, swollen, painful, and generally look like a bug bite. Some people also experience symptoms similar to those of a skin infection. However, these symptoms do not involve the nerves.
How does the herpes simplex virus to reactivate? To understand how the virus reactivates, we need to understand how the nerve cells in our body work. The nerve cells send signals to the brain through chemical signals. The chemical messengers instruct the brain what action to take when the nerve cells are damaged.
There are several risk factors associated with shingles. One of these risk factors is weakened immune system. There are several reasons for the weakened immune system. These include: chemotherapy or radiation treatment, disease, or illness such as cancer or HIV/AIDS, immune system suppressors such as steroids, or diseases such as Lupus. Other possible reasons for weakened immunity include: meningitis, previous infection, diabetes, syphilis, and organ transplant.
So, why does shingles affects the nerves? Basically, the virus damages the nerve by causing inflammation and swelling of the skin. When the skin is inflamed, it cannot support the same amount of blood that it needs to maintain the nerve’s health. The damaged area then contracts, causing a painful shingles rash.
Shingles is usually not serious; however, the symptoms can be painful and they can cause individuals to become embarrassed. For this reason, individuals may experience blisters and pain around the head and neck area. This characteristic rash is what people notice first about their condition.
Another characteristic symptom is the appearance of rash. In most cases, individuals will notice an itchy rash in the areas that are prone to developing chicken pox. However, other individuals may develop blisters along with the itchy rash. These blisters may cause an itchy feeling around the area of infection. Individuals may also notice redness, swelling, and/or pain when their body tries to combat the infection.
The last characteristic symptom is the presence of rashes or blisters. The rashes and blisters are common with shingles because these conditions are caused by a virus. However, the blisters are also commonly caused by insect bites or other wounds that occur from direct contact with insects. Individuals who have never experienced chicken pox may notice that they develop rashes or blisters at the beginning of their outbreaks. The immune system is usually weak at this time and leads to weaker defenses against the illness.
Some of the medications used to treat shingles can also cause these symptoms. For example, anti-fungal drugs such as Nystatin and Amoxil are often prescribed to treat these types of infections. Individuals must be careful with these medications since these drugs can weaken the immune system. Individuals who are taking these medications should get an update from their doctor and/or the pharmacist each year about any possible side effects from the shingles medications. Otherwise, there are many effective and soothing over the counter shingles cream. These can help alleviate the symptoms of the condition.
If the individual experiences any of these symptoms, they should visit their doctor for an evaluation. It is important to note that the severity of symptoms can vary. Some individuals may not experience any symptoms at all, while others may feel extreme amounts of pain, itching, and burning. It is important to note that these symptoms can also occur with other illnesses including the flu and diabetes.