Herpes zoster (shingles) is a viral infection, caused by Varicella zoster virus. It is commonly called as shingles. According to study, 90% patients with Herpes zoster have had chicken pox a few years back.
In children and young adult, the incidence rate is 2-4 per thousand. In adult age, the prevalence is 8 – 10/ thousand.
Varicella-zoster virus causes acute illness chicken pox. Even after chickenpox is resolved the virus is not eliminated. It can go on to cause Herpes zoster. This virus is located in nerve cells. It may remain silent for years together. When it gets activated, the symptoms appear along the course of nerves.
Sign and symptoms
Herpes zoster is characterized by painful eruptions (yellowish fluid filled) in a linear shape over a limited area of the body like face, eyes, genitals and other body parts. The eruptions can be reddish brown in color. The pain may be mild or unbearable and is related to a nerve in which the virus is located. The eruptions may subside in 3-6 weeks but pain may remain same.
The same presentation of the Herpes eruption can also be noted on genitals in male and females also. This eruption may last for 2-3 weeks or longer. The local lymph nodes may get swollen. There can be a recurrent relapse.
Herpes Zoster is known to leave behind a painful condition called Post-herpetic Neuralgia in many patients.
Skin to skin contact is the major source of spread. Transmission may also occur directly, or through contact with infected razors, towels, dishes, and other shared articles. Oral sex is the most common way to transmit genital HSV infection.
- Blood test for Herpes antibodies isolation
- PCR (polymerase chain reaction)
- The virus can be detected by investigations of a variety of body fluids such as eye secretions, mouth secretions, blister fluid, genital secretions, urine and blood and in very sick patients, the cerebrospinal fluid.
Homeopathy can effectively treat Herpes zoster. In homeopathy, there is no local or external medication. Constitutional medicines are given after studying mind and body in detail. Constitutional medicines reduce the intensity of pain, burning and subsequently reduce infection, and shorten the duration of infection. Relapses are also prevented by homeopathy. Homeopathy is also very effective in the cases of Post-herpetic neuralgia. Homeopathy is strongly advocated in the cases of Herpes Zoster.
If a person feels chilly, anxious, restless, and exhausted during fever—and the burning pain of the eruptions is relieved by heat—this remedy may be indicated. Discomfort is often worse around midnight.
Swollen, tender eruptions with burning, stinging pain and itching suggest a need for this remedy. Symptoms are aggravated by warmth, and relieved by cold applications or exposure to cool air. The person may be irritable and very sensitive to touch.
This remedy is often helpful for herpes zoster infection that is accompanied by stomach problems with burning sensations and nausea. Eruptions may appear especially on the right side of the abdomen.
When this remedy is indicated, intense burning is followed by bright red eruptions that itch intolerably. The local pain of the eruptions is worse from heat and relieved by cold applications, and cool fresh air is soothing—although the person is chilly in general and worse from getting cold.
This remedy is indicated for intensely itching shingles on the ribcage (either on the back or chest), which are also very sore, and worse from contact with clothing or any kind of touch. The blisters may look bluish. The person may feel worse from alcoholic beverages, and from exposure to cold air.
This remedy may be indicated for a rash that begins with many small blisters, is red and intensely itchy, and is relieved by hot baths or hot wet compresses. Restlessness makes the person want to pace the room or constantly move around.e.t.c