The Varicella zoster virus is what cause both chickenpox and, later, shingles. The illness is very common, and usually appears in adults over the age of 50. Shingles results into some highly uncomfortable symptoms, but if treated properly they can be manageable.
If you begin to notice signs of this particular disease appearing on your body, contact your doctor, and book and appointment as soon as possible. The earlier these symptoms are treated, the more likely it will be that you will be able to avoid long lasting nerve damage which is prevalent with shingles outbreaks.
The First Physical Signs
So how do you know if you have shingles? Well, there are some physical reactions to the virus, which will tip you off. Some of the first signs are redness, soreness, itching, and blotchiness across the skin. The initial appearance of the rash tends to be somewhere on the abdomen, but this can quickly spread up to the chest, neck and outwards towards extremities.
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Sometimes shingles can sneak up on you, because it disguises itself as another illness by causing cold and flu symptoms. When asking, how do you know if you have shingles, one of the answers may be aches and pains, fatigue, and chills. Headaches, nausea, and even a fever have been known to appear before or during the rash period of the illness.
Be very careful when treating this portion of shingles, as it is not the same as the common cold, and should be medicated for the virus, rather than the symptoms it creates.
Fortunately, shingles tends to only last for a few weeks up to a month on the average. This means that you won’t be uncomfortable for too long, but as the viral infection progresses, the symptoms can worsen. If you somehow missed the initial stages of the rash, or brushed off flu symptoms for just that, you are bound to notice shingles when the sores begin to grow in size and the pain gets worse.
It is important not to touch or scratch the sores, as the effects of rubbing and scratching can leave lasting damage to your nerves. Many men and women who recover from shingles report continuous pain in the areas where the rash had appeared at its worst. This is because nerves beneath the skin has been damaged, and sensations that would normally feel moderate, or even pleasant, can be excruciating.
Hopefully this has helped to answer the question of how do you know if you have shingles. It is extremely important to keep the shingles virus away from young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those who are already fighting off illnesses or diseases. Shingles is quite harmless on a grand scale when it affects healthy adults, but it could cause complications in those with weakened immune systems. For more information on Varicella zoster virus, speak to a doctor or public health nurse.
If you have dealt with the shingles virus and are experiencing residual pain due to nerve damage, speak to your doctor about the possibilities of medication or home remedies.