If you have ever had chickenpox, you could be at risk of having an outbreak of herpes zoster. Herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles, is a painful, itchy red rash that is caused by a viral infection.
Anyone who believes they may be suffering from a herpes zoster outbreak can seek help from Dr. Vivian Bucay. Dr. Bucay and her staff specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of herpes zoster.
What is Herpes Zoster?
A virus known as varicella-zoster is responsible for chickenpox. When an individual contracts this virus it causes an outbreak of red, itchy sores. After a bout of chickenpox, the virus still says in the body.
The virus may remain inactive for the rest of the individual’s life, but sometimes it may reactivate. When the virus becomes active again, it is known as shingles or herpes zoster.
What are Symptoms of Herpes Zoster?
A case of herpes zoster will often start as a burning, tingling sensation that occurs in one small area of the body. The most common place for herpes zoster to occur is either the left or right torso. It will usually impact just one side, as it rarely spreads to the entire body.
After experiencing a painful, burning or tingling, a red rash will begin to form. The red rash will appear in a single clump or cluster that looks like a stripe down the side of the body. In addition to a rash, some people will develop blisters. These blisters can be fluid-filled. Over time, the blisters will burst open and crust over.
Other symptoms of herpes zoster include flu-like symptoms, fever, chills, a headache, and intense fatigue.
How is Herpes Zoster Diagnosed?
Dr. Vivian Bucay often only requires a brief physical examination for her to diagnosis herpes zoster. During the exam, she will examine the rash or blisters. She will also ask you several questions regarding whether you have previous had chickenpox, how long you have experienced pain, and approximately when the rash started. The answers that are provided will help her in diagnosing herpes zoster.
If Dr. Bucay suspects that the rash may be caused by another skin condition, she may conduct a skin scraping. This will help confirm a diagnosis of herpes zoster and rule out any other skin conditions.
What Treatment Options are Available for Herpes Zoster?
No cure exists for herpes zoster. Even though there is no cure, Dr. Bucay can still help you find relief from the pain and itching associated with this skin condition.
For mild cases of herpes zoster, Dr. Bucay may recommend trying over-the-counter lotions or creams, or prescription antiviral drugs such as Zovirax or Famvir. Extreme cases of herpes zoster where the pain is unbearable may need to be treated with numbing agents, anticonvulsants, and pain medication.
Dr. Vivian Bucay is dedicated to helping you find relief from herpes zoster. She will work closely with you to find a customized treatment plan that provides you relief from the itching and burning associated with shingles.