How Does Shingles Affect The Nervous System – In nature we have seen time and time again that a whole that may seem chaotic and random at first glance often has a hidden order. From sunflower seeds that follow the Fibonacci sequence to the spiral of the nautilus shell that perfectly reflects the golden ratio, nature is full of patterns based on invisible logic.
For example, skin rashes and pimples can appear randomly. But in many cases, they often have basic patterns. That’s the case with herpes, a common skin rash that will affect about a third of the American population at some point in their lives.
- 1 How Does Shingles Affect The Nervous System
- 2 Can You Die From Shingles?
- 3 Is It Shingles? Symptoms Vs. Other Conditions And Causes
- 4 Ramsay Hunt Syndrome (herpes Zoster Oticus): Causes & Treatment
How Does Shingles Affect The Nervous System
Read on to find out exactly what cold sores are, how to prevent them, how to treat them, and learn the true nature of their deceptively random appearance.
Shingles: What It Is And How To Prevent It
Herpes zoster, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that causes a characteristic rash on the skin. The virus that causes herpes, the varicella-zoster virus, is actually the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in their nervous system. For reasons that are not fully understood, the virus can reactivate later in life and cause herpes.
Herpes usually starts with a tingling or burning sensation on one side of the body or face. After a few days, a rash of small fluid-filled blisters, similar to chickenpox, appears on the same side of the body or face. Herpes can also infect the eyes.
These blisters are quite painful and can last two to four weeks. Eventually, the blisters will heal and heal, and the rash will usually go away within a few weeks.
About one million cases of herpes are diagnosed each year in the US. Herpes symptoms develop in about 10% of people who have had chickenpox at an earlier date. The likelihood of developing herpes increases with age, and as a result, about half of herpes cases occur in people over the age of 50. To prevent herpes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people over the age of 50 take Shingrix herpes vaccine.
Can You Die From Shingles?
While the skin is the most affected organ during a herpes outbreak, the virus actually also affects the nervous system of people with herpes. The nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) and the nerves that branch from them to the rest of the body (peripheral nervous system).
Nerves are made up of fibers that send signals back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. These signals control everything from our movement through our sense of touch to our ability to feel pain. In fact, the function of nerves is to transmit information.
To do this, nerves are organized into networks called dermatomes. Dermatomes are areas of skin that are connected to the nervous system by a single nerve.
This adjustment allows for very specific and refined control of sensitivity and movement. Conversely, it also means that damage to a particular nerve can cause a loss of sensation or function in a very specific area of the skin.
The Shingles Virus: Answers To Commonly Asked Questions
Each half of the body has 31 spinal nerves that function as a communication channel between the spine and the rest of the body. With the exception of the C1 spinal nerve in your neck, all of these nerves are attached to the dermis; A point on your skin where only one spinal nerve sends sensation.
For example, the C5 spinal nerve on the right side is responsible for transmitting sensory information from the shoulder and clavicle on the right side to the spinal cord and brain. In this area, there is only one dermatome that touches the skin.
Herpes lesions usually develop around 1 or 2 dermatomes on the side of the body. Their exact location is a function of the infecting nerve. When the herpes virus targets and infects a particular nerve, the characteristic rash of herpes appears as the virus moves along the dermatome of that nerve, like a road map.
Because each spinal nerve only sends sensory information to one side of your body, that’s why the rash doesn’t cross the midline.
Is It Shingles? Symptoms Vs. Other Conditions And Causes
Not only herpes lesions can develop along a dermatome. In some cases, herpes can cause more severe nerve damage, which can lead to complications such as:
The nerves that help move the muscles can also become infected with the herpes zoster virus. Segmental paresis zoster is a disease thought to affect 0.5 to 5% of people with herpes zoster. The muscles surrounding the herpes rash weaken as a result of this disease.
Cranial nerves, one of the main nerves in your brain, can also occasionally be affected by the herpes zoster virus. Ramsay Hunt syndrome is a disorder caused by herpes zoster that affects the VII cranial nerve (facial nerve) in less than 1% of patients.
While most people recover within two to four weeks, some people experience long-term effects of herpes. In a small number of cases, the chronic pain associated with herpes can last for months or even years after the initial rash has cleared. This complication of herpes is known as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) and can be extremely debilitating.
Nerve Paths That Shingles Follow: Dermatomes And Herpes Zoster
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved anticonvulsants such as gabapentin and pregabalin for the treatment of post-therapeutic neuralgia. To reduce pain, these drugs alter the release of neurotransmitters by binding to calcium channels. This results in a calming effect and can help with nerve pain.
Many antidepressants can be used to treat pain in small doses. Tricyclic antidepressants are a type of antidepressant that is often used for this purpose. These drugs prevent the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. This, in turn, can help with pain.
Although opioid medications are useful for treating neuropathic pain, doctors are often reluctant to recommend them unless all other treatments have failed. This is because they can cause addiction or overdose. What often starts as a short-term solution can quickly turn into a long-term problem.
Lidocaine, an anesthetic, is often used as a cream for cold sores. This drug is thought to work by numbing the affected nerve endings.
What You Need To Know About Shingles
Capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers hot, is another topical agent that can be used to treat cold sores. This drug works by depleting substance P, a neurotransmitter responsible for sending pain signals to the brain.
While these treatments can be effective, they are not without their side effects. Both lidocaine and capsaicin can cause burning, stinging pain, itching, and redness. As a potential remedy for the relief of herpes-related pain, these topical agents may cause more irritation than relief.
® is a topical cream that provides quick and long-lasting relief from the pain and itching associated with cold sores.
Unlike lidocaine and capsaicin, ® does not rely on harsh chemicals or irritating ingredients to achieve its purpose. Instead, this cream uses a unique blend of natural ingredients like shea butter with skin-healthy vitamins and ceramides.
Peripheral Neuropathy: What It Is, Symptoms & Treatment
What sets ® apart from other itch relief medications on the market is that it is free of corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone and cortisol, which are associated with some serious side effects in areas of skin exposed to them.
® also works extremely quickly, providing relief in just five minutes, compared to the days, if not weeks, required by current steroids. Besides the concern of waiting so long for relief with topical steroids, the longer the use, the higher the risk of topical steroid withdrawal; A terrible condition that could easily turn out to be worse than the initial treatment that the topical steroids were trying to treat in the first place.
If you’ve been lucky enough to develop herpes, we hope this article has helped you understand why and how the rash forms where it does. And while there’s no cure for herpes, ® can help ease your symptoms so you can feel like yourself again.
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Ramsay Hunt Syndrome (herpes Zoster Oticus): Causes & Treatment
Being examined and examined by a doctor
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What Is Internal Shingles?
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