Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Herpes Zoster is an infection caused by a virus similar or identical to the virus that causes chikenpox. The infection begins in sensory nerve roots, and the skin eruptions occur along the fibers which arise from the nerve roots. The skin eruptions are almost always on one side of the body.

“Shingles” may occur in all age groups, but is more common after age 50. In adults, shingles frequently accompany or follow other problems, both physical and emotional. One attack of shingles probably protects one from a second attack, although there have been a few patients who have had more than one attack.

Although there is no treatment for the virus infection itself, recent development of medication like Zovirax can reduce the pain and discomfort of herpes zoster, and reduce the likelihood of pain after the sores have healed (post-herpetic neuralgia).

Important Points in Treament:

Activity: You should make every effort to remain as active as your feeling of well-being and energy allow.

Diet: There are no particular restrictions on your diet, but try to eat balanced meals.

General Measures:

  • Avoid chilling drafts.
  • Avoid rought washing of the skin eruptions as much as possible.
  • Do not bandage the sore(s).
  • You may apply warmth if it decreases the pain.
  • Moist compresses to the skin may also be used for comfort.

Medications: Your medicines must be fitted to your own particular needs. Do not take any medicine (not even medicine you buy without a prescription) without telling your doctor. If drugs are prescribed, carefully follow the instructions on the label. Medications may include Zovirax, pain medication, and/or cream or ointments.