Shingles in Chambersburg, PA

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About Shingles

Shingles is a skin condition that presents itself as an itchy, sensitive skin rash. It develops due to the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Board-certified dermatologist Rachel Day, M.D. in Chambersburg, PA regularly treats shingles, which may show up anywhere on your body. In the majority of cases, the shingles rash appears on the chest or on the sides of the face, like a group of blisters. Although it's most common for the elderly to experience shingles, it can also affect teenagers and young adults. Most individuals that have a case of shingles will recover without issue and never deal with the illness again, but it may return for some patients. Scientists think that shingles are brought on by a compromised immune system or a disturbance in the nervous system. Dr. Day at OneSkin Dermatology can treat your shingles and reduce the likelihood of reoccurrence.

Causes

Anybody who has had chickenpox can develop shingles. After healing from chickenpox, the virus can make its way to the nervous system and lie dormant for many years. A compromised immune system brought on by stress, illness, or general aging can place an individual at a higher risk for shingles. It is not completely evident what causes the chickenpox virus to reactivate as shingles, but it's true that only shingles will result from this reactivation — not a reoccurrence of chickenpox. There is a very small probability that those with a shingles rash may spread the virus to individuals who have never had chickenpox.

Symptoms

The signs of shingles are often only observable in a small area on one side of the body. Usually, symptoms are tingling, itching, burning, and pain. A reddish rash generally appears a couple of days after the onset of pain. Other symptoms include discomfort with physical contact and pus-filled blisters that can burst and scab over. Non-skin centered symptoms can include sensitivity to light, fever, headache, and fatigue. Some individuals might feel as though they have the flu. People with shingles typically discover their symptoms occur in phases with itching and pain coming first and observable symptoms following.

Treatment Options

While there is no complete cure for the condition, there are a variety of antiviral medications that can offer relief, address symptoms, and minimize the chance of complications. As shingles is usually extremely uncomfortable, Dr. Day can prescribe a topical numbing medication in the form of a cream, skin patch, gel, or spray. A pain-relieving ointment, like capsaicin, can be placed on the shingles rash to minimize pain. Prescription painkillers may also be prescribed. If needed, Dr. Day can recommend medications to help you handle the symptoms of shingles and reduce the chance of post-herpetic neuralgia (chronic pain in the region after the symptoms have healed).

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If you are in the Chambersburg, PA area and are experiencing observable or painful symptoms of shingles, please contact OneSkin Dermatology now to schedule an appointment. Dr. Day will document your symptoms, supply a diagnosis, and help get you a treatment plan.

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