Shingles

Vujevich Dermatology provides examination, diagnosis, and treatment for shingles through anti-viral medications and targeted topical treatments.

What are shingles?

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. Once someone has had chickenpox the virus can lay dormant in the body and reactivate as shingles later in life. In the United States about 1 in 3 people will develop the condition. There are approximately 1,000,000 cases per year.

What are the symptoms of shingles?

Shingles can be painful, and the affected area of the skin will be sensitive to the touch. After the onset of pain, a red rash and blisters can develop. The rash is most common on the abdomen but can also occur on the face or other body parts. Fever, headache, chills, and upset stomach are less common symptoms that can also occur.

Who is most at risk for shingles?

Roughly half of all cases occur in people aged 60 or older. The risk increases with increasing age. Additional risk factors are present in people who have compromised immune systems and people are who are taking immunosuppressant drugs, such as steroids.

The only way to reduce the risk of infection is through the shingles vaccine. The CDC recommends that anyone 60 or older get this vaccine. Please contact our team for any questions about receiving the vaccine.

Is shingles contagious?

Yes, shingles is contagious and can be spread through the shingles rash. The only people who can get shingles are people who have previously had chickenpox. Other people who are infected by shingles will actually develop chickenpox.

If you have developed shingles, you can reduce your risk of transmission by covering your rash, avoiding touching the rash, and washing your hands frequently.

Shingles and chickenpox can be dangerous to some people including newborns, pregnant women, and the elderly so it is best to limit contact with these population groups.

How is shingles treated?

Once acquired, the condition can be treated by one of a number of antiviral medicines. Contact our office quickly once the rash develops to shorten the duration of and lessen the intensity of your symptoms. Topical analgesics (pain relievers) are available to help control pain. Calamine lotion and colloidal oatmeal baths may help control itching.

 

The case of shingles will often last between two and six weeks.