Shingles (herpes zoster): causes, symptoms, treatment

The causative agent of herpes zoster is the Varicella Zoster virus. The virus remains in the body after chicken pox disease. He remains for life in the nodes of the nervous system. The virus is in inactive form. Its activation is preceded by a weakened immune system.

Causes of herpes zoster

Large risk herpes zoster people suffering from lymphoma or Hodgkin’s disease. Half of patients under these circumstances have rashes all over my body and the worst consequences. About 10% of patients get severe complications such as viral pneumonia, hepatitis and some other diseases to treat which is necessary for a long time.

Herpes zoster is not striking people who had not had chickenpox (chicken pox). Droplets it is not transmitted. But postponed the chicken pox is not a condition that people get sick of herpes zoster. Disease may not be.

Sick shingles carries a specific epidemiological risk. It is contagious to people not previously bolevshih chickenpox. The degree of infectivity does not depend on the form of the disease. Especially it is necessary to exclude contact with children and to better treat a patient in a hospital.

The main causes of disease:

  • immunodeficiency may be either congenital or acquired;
  • chemotherapy prescribed to treat cancer and blood diseases;
  • long-term use for the treatment of steroid hormones;
  • age-related weakening of the immune system.

Often ill adults. It is often found herpes zoster in children older than 10 years. Men suffer shingles more often than women.

Under 10 years children may develop chickenpox. After chickenpox the virus remains inactive and is not transmitted. Most often the disease occurs in spring or autumn.

American scientists conducted research. They found that children who at an early age, was vaccinated from chicken pox much more rarely was sick of herpes zoster. In their research of children without vaccinations, but I have been ill with chickenpox, the risk of disease is herpes zoster big.

Herpes zoster in pregnancy and childbirth

Shingles does not affect fetal development. But it can have a negative impact on pregnancy, and the virus may be contagious for the unborn child and have serious consequences.

Mother’s illness herpes can lead to the child’s illness. The greatest danger of illness of a child occurs when his mother’s illness in the third trimester of pregnancy. The virus is transmitted from mother to child in several ways.

The transmission of the virus can be placental-uterine way. Transfer the virus during childbirth in case of lesions of the mucous membranes of the genital tract.

A particular threat and the consequences of the virus poses for a premature baby. This is due to frequent brain damage in herpetic encephalitis. In such cases, to treat a patient is difficult and the mortality is about 70%.

Early treatment of herpes zoster in neonates with antiviral drugs significantly reduce mortality.

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The virus is also contagious while breastfeeding child sick mother. In this case, it is also well transmitted. Signs of shingles in a child found a week after transmission. The disease the baby is heavy and lasts about 10 days.


The clinical picture of the disease presented in the form of viral ganglioneuritis or inflammation of the nerve nodes. This affects the spinal nerve roots. In the affected areas there are pockets of rash. It affects the mucous membranes of the mouth and skin.

Unlike herpes 1 and 2 on my lips herpes zoster has a large lesion. Characteristic also strong pain.

The first symptoms of herpes zoster appear many years after the introduction of the virus into the body. The incubation period is very stretched. Before the first signs of the disease may experience symptoms which are characteristic of the initial period of chicken pox:

  • the temperature of the bodies;
  • possible chills;
  • malaise;
  • muscle and joint pain;
  • the places where new lesions may feel a burning or itching of the skin. Prodromal period is longer in the elderly.

Onset of illness is acute. Dramatically increases the temperature. Can be strong chills, headache and malaise. In places where new rash appears, pain, skin changes – redness. Changes in the skin resemble the symptoms of chickenpox.

There may be several waves rash. In front of each patient’s state of health deteriorates.

Pain and herpetic neuralgia appear due to swelling of the nerve trunks. Swelling appears in the result of infringement of the nerve trunks in narrow spaces. Pain differ in pungency and pristupoobraznoe. They are usually worse at night.

Rarely, but there are cases quick and painless the occurrence of herpes zoster. This can be people with a high level of immunity. In this case, a simplified treatment that can be performed folk remedies.

The main signs of herpes zoster:

  • skin rashes;
  • pain, the primary localization of pain along the nerves;
  • the reduction of skin sensitivity in areas a rash;
  • the increase in temperature and the appearance of signs of intoxication, a sense of weakness, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, may occur weight loss.

In rare cases during disease enlarged lymph nodes.

In severe cases of nerve nodes may be violation of urination, and stool disorder and other disorders specific to the disorders of the nervous system. Data breaches are reversible and disappear after treatment. You can use folk remedies.

Skin manifestations of herpes zoster

Lesions are located in the course of the branches of the affected nerve. Primarily affects:

  • intercostal nerves branch of the trigeminal nerve;
  • facial nerve;
  • main nerves of the limbs.

On the skin of a patient with herpes zoster spots appear red. They have different shapes.

Sometimes there may be spots in the form of small bubbles. Most often, the bubbles filled with clear content and surrounded by a red rim. After some time, the fluid in the vesicles becomes cloudy.

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The bubbles persist up to 2 weeks. Then they wither, and in their place formed a crust. It can be formed by erosion. In severe cases, the disease can develop ulcerative-necrotic lesions. They are covered with dense crust. Pigmentation of the skin can persist for several months after disappearance of the rash.

In case of occurrence of bubbles in the oral cavity, they are retained less time. They quickly opened and appear erosion with scalloped edge. Erosion may be isolated or coalesce into a large formation.

For severe cases of the disease characterized by the infiltration of the inflammatory process in the skin depth. In such cases, the skin leaves scars.

Specifics of herpes zoster

Depending on localization of lesions herpes zoster can be of several types.

  1. Ganglionii. The location of the lesions along the nerve trunk.
  2. Ear and eye. For this form of herpes zoster characteristic rash along the nodes of the trigeminal and facial nerve. Appears neuralgia of these nerves up to their paresis and paralysis due to intoxication.
  3. Gangrenous. A very severe form of the disease that requires careful treatment, not allowed treatment of folk remedies. After it left scars.
  4. Meningoencephalitic. Hard for the nervous system is affected with very severe intoxication.
  5. Disseminated. Occurs in people previously bolevshih chickenpox. Symptoms similar to chickenpox. Form characteristic in severe cases the immune system.
  6. Abortive. For this form of herpes are characterized by only one wave rash. In this form of treatment is minimal.

Under any form of herpes zoster characterized by severe pain. It is not always possible to relieve pain by simple analgesics or folk remedies. You may need hospital treatment with short-term opioids.

Disease in the acute form of flow lasts for 2-3 weeks. However, possible complications. Very often the complications occur in the elderly. A high probability of complications in people with reduced immunity. It may be sick cancer or leukemia.

Complications can occur in the form of post-herpetic neuralgia, or hyperesthesia. Postherpetic complications can last from several months to several years.

In the abortive form, the patient recovery takes place in about a week. In severe forms of the disease recover within a month or more.

Diagnosis and treatment of herpes zoster

Not enough experienced professionals often make mistakes in the diagnosis of the disease. This is because the rashes do not appear immediately and slight, and symptoms may be implicit. Accurate diagnosis cannot be conducted at home.

For proper diagnosis you must use the following methods:

  • microscopy;
  • immunofluorescently method;
  • serological method;
  • PCR diagnostics.


Herpes zoster in the form of light can be cured without the use of therapy in the home folk remedies. But timely and proper treatment greatly facilitates the course of the disease and eliminates or alleviates complications. Medicamentous treatment is especially necessary in protracted course of the disease or in the presence of risk factors for complications.

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The goal of treatment is destruction of the herpes virus and getting rid of the pain.

For the treatment of herpes zoster used antivirals and painkillers. They can be in the form of tablets or ointments.

The drug Dosage Application The duration of intake
Metisazon 0.6 g 2 times a day, after meals 6 days
Famvir 250 mg 3 times a day 7 days
Bonafton 0.1 g 3-5 times a day 5 days, a break for 1-2 days. Done 3 cycles
He needs therapy with valtrex the 0.5 g 2 times a day 5 days
Acyclovir 0.8 g 5 times a day 5 days
Desoksiribonukleaza (intramuscular) 25 mg Every 4 hours 7-10days
50 mg 2-3 times a day 7-10days

Listed in the table of drugs lead to rapid relief. The use of DNase significantly reduces the likelihood of postherpetic neuralgia.

Also effective with the onset of the disease antiviral drugs such as abrufen, florenal, methacycline gossypol, randomized, megasin, oxoline, interferon. During the destruction of the rash effective application of sea buckthorn oil, rosehip oil, ointment aktovegin. In the same period should apply vitamin a, cartoon.

Well established from the first days of the disease gainanova and infrared laser therapy or the use of Otluca.

To reduce swelling and painful symptoms used dehydration therapy.

The drug Dosage Application
Acetylsalicylic acid 0.5 g 1-3 times a day
Diacarb 0,125-0,25 2 times a day (morning and evening)

With timely conducting dehydration therapy pain syndrome is eliminated quickly. The inflammatory process quickly docked. This happens during the day.

Pain syndrome, which is accompanied by herpes zoster, is eliminated by using analgesics or by the use of procaine blockade. The treatment can be carried out at home.

An important condition for the rapid convalescence of the patient with herpes zoster is the increase of protective forces of an organism. To improve body resistance are used as the vitamins.

The drug Dosage Application The duration of intake
Vitamin B1 (6% solution) 1-2 ml intramuscular Up to 15 injections per course
Ascorbic acid 0,3-0,5 g per day 2 weeks
B12 200-500 mcg per day. 100 mcg when improve intramuscular 2 weeks
Lariphan-inducer of interferons 10 g of 1 times a day subcutaneously 2 days with an interval 3-4 days, but not more than 2 weeks

Body resistance can be strengthened and folk remedies at home. In these purposes it is ginseng, Eleutherococcus, aralia and other plants.

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