Shingles: Symptoms and effects of virus
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A shingles rash will normally appear on just one side of the body on either the chest or abdomen.
However, while these are the most common areas for a shingles rash to occur, anywhere on the body may be prone.
The rash, say the NHS, will appear as blotches on the skin, but that “a rash on both the left and right of your body is unlikely to be shingles”.
Furthermore it is recommended that an individual should contact 111 as soon as possible if they suspect they have shingles.
Shingles can be treated in a number of easily accessible methods such as taking paracetamol, keeping the rash clean and dry to reduce the risk of infection.
Furthermore, it is also recommended to wear loose-fitting clothing and to use a cool compress a few times a day.
While there are things that one should do, there are also actions that shouldn’t be taken.
These include not letting dressings or plasters stick to the rashes or using antibiotic cream as this slows healing.
Shingles can last up to four weeks and the skin affected can remain painful in the aftermath.
Although shingles is harmless to most people, there are some groups whom shingles can cause serious complications for.
It is recommended that a patient with shingles avoids pregnant women who had not had chickenpox before, those with weakened immune systems, and babies who are less than one month old.
While babies who are less than a month old are vulnerable, those still inside the womb should be protected with the NHS stating: “If you’re pregnant and get shingles, there’s no danger to your pregnancy or baby. But you should be referred to a specialist, as you may need antiviral treatment”.
A shingles vaccination is available on the NHS for over-70s in order to provide them with protection.
In the future, however, it may not just be the elderly who get vaccinated for shingles.
Moderna, one of the producers of the wave of Covid vaccines during the pandemic, is turning its gaze towards shingles.
The company has three new development programmes including a vaccine to combat shingles.
CEO of Moderna Stephane Bancel said in a statement: “We are committed to addressing latent viruses with the goal of preventing the lifelong medical conditions that they cause with our mRNA vaccine programmes
“With our HSV and VZV vaccine candidates, we also hope to improve the quality of life for those with symptomatic disease”.
The new programmes also include a Zika and flu vaccine.
For more information on shingles contact the NHS or consult with your GP.
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