Paresthesia

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Herpes zoster

Herpes zoster is a disease brought on by infection with the varicella zoster virus, shortened as VZV. It goes by other names including shingles and zona. Additionally, the infection initially leads to an acute illness -- chickenpox. This typically shows up in younger members of the population. Even after this acute illness, the virus remains in the body as the infection enters a latent stage.

Symptoms

Initial symptoms that may appear in a case of herpes zoster include items like fever, headache, and a general unwell feeling. Afterward, additional symptoms such as pruritus (itching), paresthesia, or hyperesthesia may show up. There can also be a burning, painful sensation, and can be of various severities as well as various types (such as stinging vs. aching, for instance). The rash which is commonly associated with the infection tends to come around one or two days after the initial infection, however, this may be delayed until up to three weeks. Keep in mind that other symptoms can also occur.

Causes

As mentioned, VZV is the causative agent behind cases of herpes zoster. Though an "attack" can occur at any age, it generally happens in those who are beyond 50 years of age. It can only occur in those who have already had chickenpox (therefore, they have already been infected). Generally, the immune system holds back the reactivation of the virus, keeping the infection in a latent stage -- however, in patients with a compromised immune system, this may not be the case. Therefore, if someone's immune system is worsened due to one factor or another, it may make at attack more likely. It is uncommon for herpes zoster attacks to occur in an individual more than three times.


Diagnosis

A doctor or medical professional is the one who goes through the diagnostic process for this condition. In cases where a rash is showing, then visual checking may be all that is required. Medical tests can also be used, including those of the blood and lymph.

Treatment

Typically, treatment for herpes zoster attempts to reduce pain (both in length and severity), reduce the duration of the attack, and avoid complications. Pain killers can be used to reduce pain, and antiviral medications may be used to attempt to slow down the replication of the virus. Other treatments may also be used. Over a period of three to five weeks, the pain and rash associated with the condition generally go away. However, about twenty percent of individuals with this condition go on to develop something known as postherpetic neuralgia.

If you wish, please continue reading more details related to paresthesia, or go right to this site's list of some other possible medical causes.