What is Shingles?
Shingles occurs when the virus responsible for chickenpox reactivates in the body. As shingles affects the nerve roots leading to the skin, it often causes the affected area to tingle, itch and causes a rash that can be very painful.
Symptoms vary and may not appear in a certain order. Here are a few early signs:
- Flu: A person infected with shingles may experience flu-like symptoms without any fever.
- Headache: People diagnosed with shingles usually complain of frequent headaches. If you are experiencing regular headaches, talk to your doctor.
- Sensitivity to light: People affected by shingles have reported sensitivity to light and sunlight. Exposure to sunlight or bright lights can cause nausea, dizziness, light-headedness and discomfort. Sensitivity to light can be a symptom of various conditions, so get professional advice.
- Rash: A common symptom is a rash in the affected area, followed by itching, tingling and the formation of blisters. Avoid scratching the skin surface as it can aggravate the condition and can cause further damage.
How Long does Shingles Last?
In most cases, shingles follows a certain pattern before fading away. The process can last for between three and five weeks. Usually, a person will feel tingling and numbness in the affected area for one to five days, after which a rash will appear.
This is followed by often painful blisters. In severe and rare cases of shingles, a patient can experience pain for about 12 weeks after the rash has gone.
How to Manage Shingles Pain?
Keep the affected area dry. Cornstarch or baking soda can be applied because it helps to dry the sores and speeds recovery. Crusted sores can be soaked in water to wash away the dry crust without feeling pain. However, it is imperative to seek a professional diagnosis and treatment.