Shingles Rash: Symptoms, Treatment, Contagious Period and Pictures

When we discuss a virus that sheds, we don’t mean lose fur ruining your carpet. It is part of the complex process of the reproductive cycle, the final step to be exact. Living beings reproduce in a number of ways, generally involving sex or fertilization with another being. In cell biology, this could be mitosis, where they clone themselves.

What is viral shedding?

Viruses are, by definition, not alive. They replicate in a different way that requires hijacking a host cell and reprogramming it to be a breeding house. The steps go as followed; entry (where the agent infiltrates the target cell), replication (where genetic material is cloned), latency (a waiting period), and finally shedding (where new pathogens are expelled to restart the process). While latent, they prepare for battle. Depending on their exit strategy, the initial cell will meet a different fate where they may be destroyed. Cell suicide, exploding, and exits where they act as neurotransmitters using modified envelopes and vesicles to vacate occur.They can do this through budding, apoptosis, or exocytosis.

A viral infection is only contagious while it is shedding. If it lies dormant or is locked into a latent status, it will not create a new virus to be given to spread to another body. However, if a cell does shed, progenies (viral offspring) will be free in extracellular space to infect new hosts or travel to another body. A progeny can travel through bodily fluids, air, or physical contact depending on the cell. Things, like kissing and exchanging saliva or engaging in unprotected intercourse, can do this.

Is the shingles rash contagious?

Herpes zoster is caused by the varicella zoster virus. It’s the same contagion responsible for causing chickenpox and shares a direct relationship with the infection. Once the virus is forced into dormancy deep in nerve roots following the defeat of a chickenpox outbreak, it can possibly reactivate on a later date resurfacing similar symptoms like those itchy blisters and severe or mild rash. You may even experience things such as fever, nausea, or fatigue. The shingles rash is contagious to the degree it can cause chickenpox in vulnerable targets who aren’t vaccinated or have no history if the diagnosis. If you are experiencing no signs of shingles, you don’t need to concern yourself as it cannot be spread while dormant.

How long does shingles rash last

The duration of how long the shingles rash lasts varies between cases. You can expect the totality of the infection to take about a month to five weeks to heal. It follows a general schedule which can help to pinpoint where you are located in the process. One to five days after your feel itching, tingling, or burning, rashes will appear. It may be similar to feeling a sunburn after a long sunny day at the beach. A few days later, these will transform into blisters. Seven to ten days later, the blisters should no longer be fluid filled. They should dry up, crust over, and scab by this point. It does take a couple of more weeks for scabs to completely heal, but you are no longer actually infected.

How long of a period are shingles contagious?

The period where shingles are contagious is only when the virus is active. While these sores are forming, this is when the virus is shedding. Once they blister or scab over, the remainder of the recovery stages aim to heal the body and the virus was shoved back into hibernation where it will remain inactive and harmless until triggered again. Taking an antiviral medication can reduce the time it takes for the disease to no longer be transmittable.

Can you experience symptoms of shingles without a rash?

The early stage of shingles symptoms are experienced without a rash. You may already begin to feel itchiness and numbness on the region where the last will later form. General feelings of being unwell may accompany skin irritation. If you know you’re at risk, you may want to contact a doctor at these first signs. Early treatment is the best way to manage the condition. Diagnostic laboratory tests can be performed which can detect shingles without rash formation. It’s also a safe method for those who experience chronic skin problems and need to eliminate the chances of other diseases.

Shingles rash pictures

If you need more than a written description of shingles, visual tools are available on the internet. Although finding similarities with shingles rash pictures you find online does not equate to a diagnosis you’d receive in a doctor’s office.

They can offer some guidance for you to educate yourself over so you can better understand the disease you’re suffering from.

What are shingles rash treatments

The most common shingles rash treatments would be to start on antivirals. There are many available on the market which you can be prescribed. These will shorten the time it takes for the virus to undergo it’s course and makes you noninfectious sooner. This could be ideal for you if you are in close quarters with someone who is susceptible, like an immunocompromised patient, infants, or pregnant women. As the infected area can be rather sore, you may want to take additional painkillers to alleviate symptoms. Over the counter (OTC) pills can help, but you can request a prescription from your doctor. These high-grade creams, patches, sprays, and gels can limit the temptation you feel to scratch the wounds and encourage secondary infections or scarring.

 

 

Article References:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/viral-shedding
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312051.php
  3. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Shingles-Information-Page
  4. https://www.webmd.com/baby/qa/what-are-early-symptoms-of-shingles
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shingles/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353060

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