Every third person in Germany will develop shingles in the course of their life. But what is the disease all about and what are the symptoms? We will show you how you can recognize shingles and how dangerous the disease can be in the worst case.
Shingles: A Dangerous Viral Disease
In the population, shingles has the reputation of a harmless skin disease – and wrongly. Because it is actually a potentially dangerous viral disease that is triggered by the so-called varicella-zoster virus. While infection with the virus in children is in the form of chickenpox (Varicella), adults get sick on Herpes zoster – this is the medical term for shingles. However, people who had chickenpox as a child are by no means protected from shingles. On the contrary: the varicella zoster virus remains in the body for life and can be reactivated if the immune system is weakened. Because of this, there is an increased risk, especially for elderly and previously ill people. An infection can manifest itself through a variety of symptoms and can have serious consequences.
The 4 most common symptoms of shingles
A reactivation of the varicella zoster virus in adulthood can announce itself a few days before the onset of the specific main symptoms via diffuse complaints such as tiredness, body aches and general malaise. Due to the possibility of a severe course with consequential damage, the state health portal advises gesund.bund.de to, “To immediately initiate medical treatment with pain and virus-inhibiting drugs”. So do not hesitate to see a doctor you trust if you notice any of the following symptoms.
1. Blistered rash
According to the name of the disease, this prominent key symptom can appear in the lumbar area and is noticeable there as an itchy, tingling rash on which vesicles form after a short time. Since the fluid in the skin cells contains the virus, there is a risk of infection through smear infection. To promote complication-free healing and to prevent the formation of scars, you should use the Do not scratch the blisters under any circumstances. After a few days, these should start to dry out and crust. In addition to the lumbar area, other parts of the body such as the trunk can also be affected by the rash.
2. Sharp nerve pain
In addition to the eponymous rash, most sufferers also suffer from stinging or burning nerve pain in the affected areas of the skin. Unfortunately, with about every third infection, the excruciating nerve pain persists even after the actual illness has subsided – this phenomenon is called Post-Zoster-Neuralgie and can last for months or, in the worst case, even a lifetime. Therefore, shingles should always be taken seriously.
Video: shingles – that’s behind the disease