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Herpes zoster (commonly called "shingles") results from reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) acquired during a primary varicella infection (chickenpox). Primary VZV infection occurs when a susceptible individual (usually a child) is exposed to airborne virus via a respiratory route. Over 90% of adults in the United States have evidence of prior VZV infection on blood testing.

While zoster can erupt on almost any part of the body, the most common areas are the face and the torso. The characteristic rash of herpes zoster is often preceded by a prodrome of burning pain, itching or sensitivity of the affected area.

The skin lesions begin as a red, raised rash that follows a dermatomal distribution. The rash evolves into small fluid-filled blisters (vesicles) on a reddened base. The vesicles are generally painful, and their development is often associated with the occurrence of flu-like symptoms and anxiety. The vesicles eventually become cloudy and may bleed. Within 7-10 days, the vesicles crust over. As these crusts fall off, scarring and changes in skin color may remain.

While medications do not cure zoster infections, they have been found to help shorten the duration and discomfort of the outbreak. Perhaps more importantly, antiviral medications have been found to help reduce or prevent the occurrence of postherpetic neuralgia pain.

Medifocus: Trusted Medical Information...When You Really Need to Know

The Medifocus Guide on Shingles provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:

What Your Doctor Reads:

This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes: understands that consumers who are facing serious medical issues need access to credible, up-to-date medical information to help them make informed health-care decisions. That's why we've developed the MediFocus Guides...the most advanced and trustworthy patient research guides for over 200 chronic and life-threatening conditions. Each MediFocus Guide includes a detailed overview of the condition including information about diagnosis, treatment options, cutting-edge research, and new developments; excerpts of important journal articles from the current medical literature focusing on standard treatments and treatment options; a directory of leading authors and medical institutions who specialize in the treatment of the condition; and a listing of organizations and support groups where you can obtain additional information about the illness.

MediFocus Guides are the perfect solution for consumers who wish to gain an in-depth understanding of their medical issue and avail themselves of the same type of professional level medical information that is used by physicians and other health-care professionals to help then in the clinical decision making process.
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