What Does Severe Shingles Look Like?

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, within the healthcare community is characterized by a rash found on one side of the body. While the rash can be found in various places, it tends to be more prominent on the individual’s torso or face. The rash is characterized by small blisters, which may burst and then scab or crust over. The area appears red and is very sensitive. Although many cases can be “milder” in nature, some may get a severe shingle case, leading to complications and even hospitalization.

Appearance of Severe Shingles

Those who have a more severe case of shingles may start with the same symptoms as other sufferers. This can include but is not limited to pain and burning in the area before developing the rash. Initially, they will typically develop the standard red rash with blisters which may occur in a stripe-like pattern. Severe shingles may cover a larger body surface area, the blisters may be larger in size and number, and for some, after they burst, they may not heal properly. Failure to crust or scab over or scratching to irritate the area can lead to infection and further delay healing.

Signs of Severe Shingles

There are a few things that the individual should look for. As previously mentioned, the infection can be a concern. Therefore, signs of severe shingles can include discoloration of the affected area. The inflamed area may go from red to purple, which is not that uncommon. However, when the site appears to become yellow, green, or significant discoloration is noted, it may indicate a sign of infection. After some time, typically a week to 10 days, the blisters should burst and begin crusting over, but it becomes more severe when more blisters continue to appear instead.

Risk Factors for Severe Shingles

There are certain groups of people who are not only most likely to develop shingles but may have more severe cases. This can include those of advancing age, those who may have a weakened immune system, take certain medications, or undergo certain types of medical treatments, such as chemotherapy. Although receiving the shingles vaccination does not guarantee one will not develop shingles, those who do not get the vaccination may be more likely to develop more severe cases that may last longer.

Diagnosis of Herpes Zoster

Those who are unsure if their rash is related to the virus will be happy to know that confirming or ruling out a diagnosis is relatively simple. In the majority of cases, a physician can confirm or deny whether the skin rash is shingles by a simple visual examination. More severe cases may also be accompanied by infection and even though the physician may be able to diagnose an infection by looking, they may also order a few tests to determine the type of infection to ensure that they prescribe an effective antibiotic, if one is needed.

Treatment and Management of Symptoms

Most treatment for shingles involves pain management as the condition is excruciating. However, some physicians may also prescribe antiviral medications to decrease the severity and length of the condition. Other treatments are based on whether or not there is the involvement of other areas of the body, such as the eye. For most individuals, treatment can be provided in the comfort and convenience of the home. Topical treatments, both prescription and non-prescription, can be used to decrease itching, promote healing, and even provide some pain relief.

What is the Best Cream to Put on Shingles?

There are a variety of creams, ointments, and lotions that can be applied to shingles. With this being said, there are a few products that the consumer may wish to avoid. Creams with strong fragrances or harsh ingredients should ultimately be avoided, as these products may further irritate the area. Ointments and lotions that are natural with little-to-no chemicals can help soothe the area. Those with severe shingles may want to consider a cream that has anti-bacterial properties. This assists in preventing infection of the site. arti nama

Other Important Considerations

Shingles is a very painful condition that can become severe for some individuals. The nerve pain alone can be almost unbearable without the pain from the skin rash itself. Regardless of the severity, the individual mustn’t pick at the blisters, scratch the area, or apply harsh chemicals to the area. There are various treatments available that can help soothe the skin, alleviate the pain and minimize symptoms without damaging the already irritated and inflamed skin.

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