Each year more than one million Americans suffer with shingles, an extremely painful, itchy, blistering rash caused by herpes zoster, the same viral infection that afflicts the nerve roots and causes chickenpox. Beyond the initial healing, a high percentage of patients report nerve pain that can last weeks, months, and in some cases, years. It is estimated that about a third of the people in the United States alone will develop shingles at some point in their life.
“The risk of getting shingles again, once you already have it, is about one in three,” says Barbara Yawn, MD, director of research at Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester, Minn. “People who suffer pain for 60 or more days after their shingles attack are nearly five times more likely to suffer a recurrence”, Moore says. The research was presented at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).
Shingles occurs when the dormant chickenpox virus reactivates in the nerves. The infection can live dormant and reactivate again due to mounting age, stress, lowered immunity, infection, medical treatments or medications that suppress the immune system.
Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body, the rash most often appears as a single strip of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso. The issue with shingles is that it often mimics other conditions – like poison ivy or scabies – with similar uncomfortable symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Shingles
Be aware of the signs and symptoms that indicate a shingles outbreak, because the earlier you treat shingles, the better. If unsure of what is occurring or if this is the first time you’ve experienced shingles, call your doctor right away. While shingles may not be life threatening, it creates great discomfort and sickness. Symptoms of shingles include:
- Rash – The most common sign of shingles is when you break out in a rash of painful, fluid-filled blisters, which are often contained to only one side or area of the body. This happens because the virus affects localized nerve roots, typically in the chest, back, buttocks, or neck, and remains directly connected to those exact areas for about 7 to 10 days. Initially, the blisters will be filled with a clear fluid, but after a few days, the fluid will cloud up and take on a darker hue.
- Tingling sensations or extreme sensitivity to touch – Tingling sensations are common along with flu-like symptoms that precede the outbreak of the rash.
- Nausea – In most cases, the stomach discomfort is relatively mild, yet noticeable enough to signal that there’s a problem.
- Fever and chills – Fluctuations in body temperature and the immune system’s natural response to a viral infection may produce fever and chills. This tends to feel like flu symptoms.
- Itching, burning, and numbness, usually contained to the areas of the body where the rash later appears.
- Headache – The shingles virus will often cause neuropathic pain in the cranial nerves and nerve roots, which will result in a painful, recurring headache. The headache is being triggered by interference with your nerves, a condition which most OTC pain relievers aren’t designed to deal with.
- Muscle pain and fatigue – Muscle pain and accompanying fatigue may be present before, during and following an outbreak of shingles. It most often occurs in the arms and legs and they may feel tender and sore.
- Eye symptoms – Any changes in the eye or vision problems should be considered very serious. If you develop them, seek immediate medical attention. Untreated eye-based symptoms caused by shingles can lead to temporary or permanent vision impairments, and even blindness.
If you experience a rash on your face, any changes to your eyes or in your vision, changes in how well you can think, or a rash that spreads, call your physician immediately.
Shingles Recurrence Rates
A little over 30%, or 1 in 3 people who have a shingles outbreak will have one or more recurrences with this painful virus. The following statistics show the likely rates of recurrence of an outbreak.
- 2.8 times more likely in people with shingles-associated pain for 30 or more days during the initial episode
- 4.8 times more likely in people with shingles-associated pain for 60 or more days during the initial episode
- 60% more likely in women than men
- 40% more likely in people who were 50 or older when they had their initial attack
This is a powerful reason to have NeoGenesis Recovery on hand for immediate application if symptoms begin to reappear at any time.
NeoGenesis Solution in Tandem with Other Steps
Vaccines can help reduce the risk of shingles and your doctor is the one to determine if it is right for you. Your doctor will have treatment suggestions as well.
NeoGenesis Recovery, which is abundant in S²RM®, used in early treatment can help shorten the timeframe of a shingles outbreak, reduce pain and irritation, and lessen the chance of complications. NeoGenesis Intensive Moisturizer is also helpful once the shingles are past the blister stage.
Recovery may be used up to four times a day during the initial states of the outbreak. Because shingles symptoms commonly last for 7 to 10 days, continued use of Recovery twice a day in the area of the rash for a full 10 days will continue the healing process, even if the rash improves immediately. After the 10 days, if the areas of outbreak are clear, add in Intensive Moisturizer to help continue the healing and hydrate the area.
If you experience long-term nerve related pain, people have reported the continued use of Recovery twice a day as helping to calm the area.