Shingles-Post Herpetic Neuralgia
What is shingles?
Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster (chicken pox) virus. It can affect anyone who has had chicken pox, and is characterized by an outbreak of very painful blistering rash. Those with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk of contracting shingles, and of sustaining greater damage from it. If treated with pain relief and anti-viral medications, symptoms generally subside in 3-5 weeks.
Does shingles have any lasting effects?
Some patients with shingles develop post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a disorder involving damage to the nerves that can cause pain and extreme sensitivity to even the lightest stimulation. PHN can be long-lasting, though for most people the pain will diminish over time. Treatment includes pain relief medications such as opioids, antidepressants, and lidocaine patches.