What is herpes zoster?Herpes zoster, also known as shingles or zona, is a viral disease caused by the chickenpox virus, varicella zoster virus (VZV).
Approximately, 20% of those who had chickenpox may develop shingles later on. The latency period of the herpes virus may last from years to decades. What activates this latent human herpesvirus 3 is not known. However certain triggering factors have been identified. Individuals of all age groups and genders may develop the herpes disease. However, the incidences of its recurrence are greater in older population. Infants, elderly people, transplant patients and those affected by immunosuppression due to diseases or medications are at increased risk.
What are the herpes zoster symptoms?The early symptoms of VZV herpes are fever, headache, body pain and malaise. They are followed by tingling, itching, prickling or burning sensations.
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What is the treatment for herpes zoster?Shingles resolves by itself after 7-10 days. The antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir can reduce the intensity of the herpes episode and help in rapid healing if taken within three days of the start of symptoms. Herpes vaccine helps in reducing the intensity and recurrence of the episodes.
1.Zostavax (Herpes Zoster Vaccine) Questions and Answers (FDA)