Approximately 400,000 people fall ill in Germany every year shingles. Only those who have had chickenpox before will get it. The infectious disease is triggered by the Virus “Herpes Zoster” (Varicella zoster virus, VZV). The pathogens survive in spinal cord nerves.
At a weakened immune system they can multiply again and trigger shingles. Prof. Claudia Sommer from the German Society for Neurology in Berlin explains that the pain can be burning-drilling, intense and constant or short-shooting like that German Press Agency (dpa) reported. In addition, people are sometimes extremely sensitive to touch where the affected nerves are located. We will inform you about all important factors related to the disease. You will also find out which groups of people should be vaccinated.
Shingles: These symptoms are typical
In the early phase of the disease kick yet no specific symptoms on. The patients only report about general signs of illness:
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- headache and body aches
- Light fever
- Tingling and discomfort in affected skin areas
After a few days, those affected then feel Pain and the typical rash forms. The pain occurs before, during and often after the rash. Since the viruses attack the nerves in shingles, they are so-called neuropathic Schmerzen. These are expressed by a burning or stinging sensation, are sometimes dull and shoot up suddenly again and again.
Treat the rash properly: This is how you can take action against shingles
If shingles is treated early, chances are good that the disease will stop fully healed can be. But it often happens that one shingles occurs multiple times.
The doctor then different ways to treat the rash:
- care skin: Disinfectant powders, lotions and gels, cool and wet compresses – there are various means to relieve pain and itching
- relieve pain: Medications (such as ibuprofen)
- Stop Viruses: Inhibit the multiplication of the viruses (with so-called antivirals), treat within 72 hours
- Treat secondary diseases: In the case of post-herpetic neuralgia, the doctor can supplement the therapy with pain therapy, antispasmodics, antidepressants or alternative treatment methods such as acupuncture.
Important: Go to the doctor as soon as you first symptoms of shingles notice in you. Only then can you get the infection under control as quickly and permanently as possible.
Risk factors for shingles: This can trigger the infection
Usually that is immune system of a human powerful enough to keep the virus under control. This means that in most cases the infection does not break out. If the immune system is weakened due to external or internal factors, an outbreak can occur. the most important risk factors are:
- UV radiation
- Other infectious diseases
- Stress and mental strain
- Cancer diseases or chemo therapy
- Medication with so-called immune suppressants
- Congenital immune defects
The risk of developing shingles increases with age. The immune system weakens later in life and the viruses become active more easily. Besides, that is risk of infection significantly increased from the age of 50. For this reason, people over a certain age should speak out against the painful and intractable disease vaccinate.
Vaccination against shingles: who should protect themselves urgently?
Die Standing Committee on Vaccination (Stiko) recommends a shingles vaccination in principle for people from 60 years. Anyone who is ill or suffers from an immune deficiency should already be from 50 years vaccinate. Two vaccines are approved in Germany: a live vaccine and an inactivated vaccine.
Two doses of the shingles vaccine are administered at intervals of two to a maximum of six months. If a person has been vaccinated against chickenpox (varicella) with a live vaccine, shingles is possible despite vaccination. However, children who have received a chickenpox vaccination are three to twelve times less likely to get one shingles. In addition, the course is milder than without vaccination.
“Vaccination with the dead herpes zoster vaccine is safe. There was no signal for serious side effects in the approval studies,” writes the RKI on its website. However, the herpes zoster inactivated vaccine is considered very “reactogenic”. According to the RKI, this means that reactions such as redness, pain and swelling at the vaccination site are possible. It can also happen that vaccinated people feel tired for a day or two, have a fever, headache or muscle pain.
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