Welcome to White Pebble Dermatology practice in Columbia, Maryland and Highland, Maryland! Our team of experienced dermatology specialists is dedicated to helping patients achieve healthy skin. One of the conditions we specialize in treating is shingles, a viral infection that causes a painful rash.
What are Shingles?
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person has recovered from chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in the nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain. Later in life, the virus may reactivate and cause shingles.
Symptoms of Shingles
The first symptom of shingles is usually pain, tingling, or burning on one side of the body, often in a band-like pattern. This may be followed by a rash that appears as fluid-filled blisters. The rash usually occurs on the torso, but it can also occur on the face and other parts of the body. The blisters may break open, ooze, and then scab over in about 7-10 days. The rash and other symptoms may last for 2-4 weeks.
Treatment of Shingles
There is no cure for shingles, but early treatment can help reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of complications. Treatment usually involves antiviral medication, which can help shorten the duration of the illness and reduce pain. Pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may also be prescribed. If the rash is severe, your dermatologist may recommend topical medications or dressings to help soothe and protect the affected skin.
Prevention of Shingles
The best way to prevent shingles is to get vaccinated. The shingles vaccine is recommended for adults over the age of 50, even if they have already had shingles before. The vaccine can significantly reduce the risk of developing shingles and also reduce the severity and duration of symptoms if a person does get shingles.
If you are experiencing symptoms of shingles, such as pain, tingling, or a rash, it is important to see a dermatology specialist as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Our team of dermatology specialists can help you manage the symptoms of shingles and prevent complications.