Anyone who has ever had shingles is all too familiar with the misery of the condition. And while there are certain things your dermatologist can do to minimize the misery and possibly even shorten the duration of symptoms, in most cases shingles just has to run its course. Here’s what you need to know:
Shingles is the Result of a Virus
The varicella zoster virus is responsible for causing all the symptoms of shingles. If you had chickenpox as a child, then you carry the virus and could develop a shingles outbreak at any time. In some people, the virus lies dormant for a lifetime. In others, it flares in mid to late adulthood, and can flare quite regularly after the initial outbreak.
Shingles Treatment Must Be Early to Be Effective
If you suspect a shingles outbreak, then its best to see your doctor or dermatologist right away. He or she can administer antiviral medications that can limit the duration and pain. The catch is, unless you’ve had shingles before, you’re not likely to catch the symptoms in time. Early symptoms are so similar to a myriad of other conditions that many people dismiss them entirely at first. The good news is that there are topical ointments and medicines your dermatologist can give you, along with OTC pain reducers, that can help you control the symptoms until they subside.
Shingles Symptoms are Many and Generic…at First
At the onset of shingles, you may experience sensitivity to light, headaches, and feverless flu-like feelings. Itching or pain in one area of skin with no noticeable cause is often next. The rash doesn’t develop until after that, at which point symptoms become fairly well definitive. Pain, rashes, blisters, oozing, and crusting will all ensue before everything begins to heal.
At Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, we can help you identify and manage a case of shingles. To schedule an appointment with our skin care doctor, call (866) 608-9531. You can also visit our website to learn more about our general and cosmetic dermatology services, including skin cancer treatment and laser skin treatment.