Herpes zoster is a virus that results from the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that also causes chickenpox, this second disease being the early stage. This reactivation of the virus has its unknown causes, but it is common when a disease or drug weakens the immune system, causing an outbreak of fluid-filled blisters that sometimes causes chronic pain in the affected area, which is the main feature of the Herpes disease. Zoster, and hence the way doctors diagnose the disease in their patients.
The herpes zoster virus can develop at any age, but the chance of developing the disease increases with age, and is more common in people over fifty years of age. And reactivation of the virus that causes Herpes Zoster can occur when the immune system is weakened by another disease such as AIDS and lymphoma, or by using drugs that suppress the immune system, for example to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ. In contrast, it is good to point out that the onset of herpes zoster does not necessarily mean that the person has another serious illness, and unlike herpes simplex virus infections, which can often recur, there is usually only one outbreak of herpes zoster in a person’s life.
Symptoms reveal that during the two to three days before herpes zoster develops, most people experience pain, a tingling sensation, or itchiness in a strip of skin. full of fluid, surrounded by a red area. Normally, the blisters continue to form for three to five days and the affected body area is often sensitive to any stimulus, including a slight touch, and intensely painful. The blisters begin to dry and crust about five days after they appear. These blisters are contagious and contain the varicella zoster virus that, when transmitted to vulnerable people, can cause chicken pox. Having many blisters outside the affected area or having blisters that persist for more than two weeks usually indicates that the immune system is not functioning normally. The greatest risk of the disease is that herpes zoster sometimes affects the nerve that leads to the eye, causing it to become infected, which usually occurs when ulcers occur on the forehead, near the eyes, and especially on the tip. nose, and even with treatment vision can be affected.
Symptoms of herpes zoster are generally less severe in children than in adults, especially in the elderly who do not always recover without lasting effects, who continue to experience pain long after the rash has disappeared. This pain occurs in areas of the skin supplied by herpes zoster-infected nerves and can be very severe and even disabling.
Prevention of herpes zoster is recommended by vaccine as a way to prevent chicken pox in children and adults who do not have immunity against the disease, thus significantly reducing the chance of getting herpes zoster. Another way to prevent the disease is, if it occurs, to take antiviral drugs, thereby reducing the risk of contracting symptoms of long-lasting effects of the disease.
Herpes zoster treatment consistsofmedication with several antivirals, these medicines should be started as soon as herpes zoster is suspected, if possible before the blisters appear, because the medicines are probably ineffective if started more than 3 days after the blisters appear. . Note that these medicines do not cure the disease, but they can help alleviate herpes zoster symptoms and shorten its duration, and if the eye or ear is involved in the infection, a specialist doctor should be consulted. Moist compresses are also very effective against the symptoms of the disease, mainly because it soothes the pain in the affected region, but the use of painkillers or anti-inflammatories are sometimes necessary.
To prevent the development of bacterial infections, people with herpes zoster should keep the affected skin clean and dry and should not scratch the blisters, as this increases the risk of the affected skin becoming infected with bacteria, as well as the risk of the formation of scars on the area.
What is known about the cause of the disease is that during chickenpox, the virus spreads in the bloodstream and infects clusters of spinal or cranial nerve nerves and the virus remains inactive and may not cause symptoms again, or else , be reactivated many years later.