Shingles: Resources and information about Herpes Zoster
1 in 3 members of our Eastern Shore community will suffer from Shingles in their lifetime. We believe if this condition is that prevalent, we should have information ready for those who need it in Crisfield, Pocomoke City, Ocean Pines, and throughout Delmarva.
Shingles, also called Herpes Zoster, is a painful and itchy rash that can develop on the skin of people who have previously had Chickenpox. The CDC estimates almost all Americans born before 1980 have had chickenpox, even if they do not remember it. The rash itself typically develops on the torso, neck, or face as clusters of red patches that will occur and resolve in two to four weeks. These patches begin as small, fluid filled blisters that will dry and crust over. Importantly, Shingles can be transmitted to other people if they come in contact with this fluid; a person with shingles is contagious until the entire rash has dried over.
Treatment for Shingles often includes antiviral medication prescribed by your doctor. It is important to see your doctor as soon as a rash develops, as this medicine is more effective the sooner after rash development it is taken. Wet compresses, calamine lotion, and over the counter or prescription pain medicine from your doctor may help the itchiness.
There are some serious complications that can come from Shingles. In about 10% of cases people experience pain in the area the rash was after it has resolved, called Posterherpetic Neuralgia. There are also complications related to the eye and ear that can happen, especially if the rash is near these areas. For these reasons we suggest seeing a medical professional right away if you believe you have Shingles.