Symptoms and treatment shingles headache

 Symptoms and treatment shingles headache

What is shingles, and who can get it?

Shingles is another name for a condition called “herpes zoster.” It is an infection that results from the reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox (the varicella-zoster virus). Shingles causes a painful rash.
After you have chickenpox, the virus that causes it stays inactive in your body inside certain nerve cells. Most of the time your immune system keeps the virus in these cells. As you get older, or if your immune system gets weak, the varicella-zoster virus may escape from the nerve cells and cause shingles. If you have had the chickenpox vaccine, you are less likely to get chickenpox and therefore less likely to later develop shingles.

Most people who get shingles are older than 50 years of age or have a weak immune system. For example, you might get shingles if you have cancer, take medicines that weaken your immune system, or have HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) or AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)

 Symptoms of shingles headache

What is postherpetic neuralgia?

Postherpetic neuralgia is the name used when the pain of shingles lasts for a long time after the rash is gone. About 10% of people who have shingles will develop postherpetic neuralgia. It is caused by damaged nerve fibers that send exaggerated pain messages from your skin to your brain.
Like shingles, postherpetic neuralgia causes a stinging or burning pain. Your skin might become very sensitive to temperature changes or a light touch, such as from a bedsheet, your clothing or moving air.
 Symptoms and treatment shingles headache

Most people who develop postherpetic neuralgia get better with time. Almost all of them are free of pain within 1 year. However, a few people have chronic pain (pain that doesn’t go away).

Treatment for shingles headache

How is postherpetic neuralgia treated?

Postherpetic neuralgia is often treated with OTC pain medicines and capsaicin cream (two brand names: Capzasin-P, Zostrix). If these medicines don’t help enough, your doctor might try some other treatments, such as a stronger pain medicine or a patch that contains a numbing medicine called lidocaine.
Some medicines that are used to treat depression and seizures can also help relieve the nerve pain of postherpetic neuralgia. These medicines may take several weeks before they begin to ease your pain.

Is there a vaccine for shingles?

The shingles vaccine is recommended for adults 60 years of age and older. The vaccine can prevent shingles, but can not treat active shingles or post-herpetic neuralgia.
Common side effects of the vaccine are headache and redness, swelling, itching and soreness at the injection site. People who have had shingles should get the vaccine to help stop the disease from reoccurring. The vaccine protects for at least 6 years, but may last a lot longer.

The shingles vaccine is not recommended for the following groups:

People who have had an allergic reaction to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin
People who have an allergy to any component of the shingles vaccine
People who have a weakened immune system due to conditions such as leukemia, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
People who are receiving treatment for cancer
People who are being treated with drugs that suppress their immune system, including high-dose steroids
Women who are pregnant or might become pregnant within 4 weeks of getting the vaccine

Can I give shingles to others?

No one can catch shingles from you. However, they can catch chickenpox if they haven’t already had chickenpox or had the chickenpox vaccine. The varicella-zoster virus (which is the virus that causes both chickenpox and shingles) lives in the blisters from shingles. The virus can be spread until the blisters are completely healed. If you have blisters that have not crusted over yet, you should stay away from anyone who has never had chickenpox, babies younger than 12 months of age and pregnant women.