Herpes Zoster

Introduction

Herpes zoster (shingles) is a viral infection, caused by Varicella zoster virus. It is commonly called as shingles. According to study, 90% patients with Herpes zoster have had chicken pox few years back.

Prevalence

In children and young adult the incidence rate is 2-4 per thousand. In adult age the prevalence is 8 – 10/ thousand.

Causative factors

Varicella zoster virus causes acute illness chicken pox. Even after chickenpox is resolved the virus is not eliminated. It can go on to cause Herpes zoster. This virus is located in nerve cells. It may remain silent for years together. When it gets activated, the symptoms appear along the course of nerves.

Sign and symptoms

Herpes zoster is characterised by painful erruptions (yellowish fluid filled) in a linear shape over limited area of body like face, eyes, genitals and other body parts. The eruptions can be reddish brown in colour. The pain may be mild or unbearable and is related to nerve in which the virus is located. The erruptions may subside in 3-6 weeks but pain may remain same.

Same presentation of the Herpes eruption can also be noted on genitals in male and females also. These erruption may last for 2-3 weeks or longer. The local lymph nodes may get swollen. There can be recurrent relapse.

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Herpes Zoster is known to leave behing a painful conditon called Post-herpetic Neuralgia in many patients.

Transmission

Skin to skin contact is the major source of spread. Transmission may also occur directly, or through contact with infected razors, towels, dishes, and other shared articles. Oral sex is the most common way to transmit genital HSV infection.

Investigation

  • Blood test for Herpes antibodies isolation
  • PCR (polymerase chain reaction)
  • Virus can be detected by investigations of variety of body fluids such as eye secretions, mouth secretions, blister fluid, genital secretions, urine and blood and in very sick patients, the cerebrospinal fluid.

Conventional Treatment

Antiviral, Analgesics and steroids are the treatment that may help little in some patients but can not kill this horrible virus from within. Body may develop resistance to same dose of the antiviral or analgesics medicines. Then subsequently the power of the antiviral medicines needs to be increased. Again resistance develops and the cycle continues till patient starts getting severe side effects.

Steroids have their own set of side effects on Blood sugar, blood pressure, bone mass, body weight etc.

Homeopathic Treatment for Herpes Zoster

Homeopathy can effectively treat Herpes zoster. In homeopathy there is no local or external medication. Constitutional medicines are given after studying mind and body in detail. Constitutional medicines reduce the intensity of pain, burning and subsequently reduce infection, and shorten the duration of infection. Relapses are also prevented by homeopathy. Homeopathy is also very effective in the cases of Post-herpetic neuralgia. Homeopathy is strongly advocated in the cases of Herpes Zoster.

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