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About Shingles

Anyone who had chickenpox may get shingles, an infection that causes a painful rash. Riverhills Neuroscience, with three Cincinnati, Ohio, area offices in Norwood, Westside, and Anderson, as well as an office in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, is a multidisciplinary practice that provides comprehensive and coordinated care for shingles, managing acute symptoms and any related complications. Call the office today to make an appointment, or complete the online form to learn more about treatment for shingles at Riverhills Neuroscience.

Shingles Q&A

What causes shingles?

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you recover from chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in certain nerve cells in the body. The virus may remain inactive and not cause any further problems.

However, as you age, the virus may reactivate, causing the shingles infection. If you had chickenpox, you might get shingles. It most often reappears after age 50 but may occur following an infection or when you’re stressed. People with a weakened immune system may also be at risk of getting shingles. 

Though uncommon, you can get shingles more than once. 

How will I know if I have shingles?

At the start of the shingles infection, you may have mild to severe burning or shooting pain on one side of your face or body. It’s possible to miss the early signs and symptoms, especially if your pain is mild.

Soon after the shooting pain, you get a painful, blistering rash. The rash is usually small and occurs on one side of the body. The rash usually scabs over within 7-10 days. Shingles may also cause a fever, headache, or stomach pain.

In addition to the shooting pain and rash, shingles may cause other problems, such as changes in vision, hearing, or balance. You can also develop postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), causing severe pain in the area of your rash that lasts weeks, months, or years.

If you suspect you have shingles, an early diagnosis may lessen the length and severity of your infection. The specialists at Riverhills Neuroscience can diagnose shingles after a history and physical exam. 

What are the treatments for shingles?

There’s no cure for shingles, but antiviral medications can help with symptoms and reduce the risk of complications like PHN. You get the most benefits when you start antiviral medication for shingles within three days after the appearance of your rash.

Riverhills Neuroscience also provides treatments for PHN, which may include medication to reduce pain and inflammation, antiviral drugs, or anti-seizure medication for nerve pain. 

Can I prevent shingles?

Health care providers recommend adults 50 and older get the shingles vaccine to protect against a shingles infection. The vaccine may not prevent shingles, but it may lessen the severity and duration of the infection. 

For comprehensive shingles care, call Riverhills Neuroscience today, or request more information online.