Herpes zoster: symptoms and treatment

Herpes zoster is a viral disease that is transmitted by airborne droplets or from the use of general hygiene items with an infected person. The virus can exist for a long time in the human body, and can not be expressed by any symptoms. For example, having got into the body of a child, it remains inactive, and can awaken at an older age or in the presence of favorable conditions.

Because the rash affects not only the skin, but also the nerve endings, a few specialists are engaged in treatment (in stationary conditions). It should also be noted that it is possible to get rid of herpes zoster at home, but only after a preliminary consultation with a doctor.

Having manifested itself in childhood, such a disease will affect the ability of immunity to confront other infectious diseases in adulthood. The herpes virus is contagious and transmitted from one person to another, but since there are no characteristic manifestations immediately after infection, it becomes difficult to understand the causes of the rash. But it is precisely known that absolutely anyone can acquire such a disease, regardless of age and sex.

Lesions of the skin and nervous system in the course of herpes zoster are often treated and treated by dermatologists and neuropathologists. The prolonged form of the course of such a disease or the neglect of treatment can lead to severe consequences. In the medical field, there is a lot of controversy over the causes of the occurrence, in what way it is transmitted, and in general, whether this virus is contagious or not.


The causes of this disease are quite diverse. Herpes zoster is in an inactive state in the human body for many years and even decades and can manifest itself in the following cases:

  • effects on immunocompromised infections
  • taking large amounts of antidepressants or steroids
  • prolonged stress;
  • body overexertion with strong physical activity
  • the presence of cancer in the body
  • body irradiation
  • Organ transplants
  • HIV;
  • AIDS;
  • severe hypothermia
  • various injuries.

The age group is also of great importance for activating the virus. The most vulnerable to it are small children who are very often sick with viral infections, and elderly people whose immunity is weakened by age. The risk group is made up of pregnant women, since during pregnancy immunity does not work at full strength. This is due to the fact that if the immunity with full force affected the virus, it would lead to loss of the fetus.


Depending on the causes of the onset, herpes zoster may be:

  1. a typical form;
  2. atypical form

The second form, in turn, is also divided into a number of subforms. The herpes zoster of the atypical form can be of the following varieties:

  • abortive — no rashes are observed or with very little spread, painful sensations do not disturb the patient at all or are accompanied by mild itching
  • Boolean — the rashes are extensive and have the appearance of transparent small vesicles
  • hemorrhagic — in the blisters you can see blood impurities, after their healing there are scars on the skin;
  • gangrenous — is expressed by the appearance on the skin of deep ulcers, which heal for a long time and leave behind rough scars
  • Ophthalmic — the optic nerves are affected.


Symptoms of herpes zoster for adults, children and pregnant women are absolutely the same. The disease is expressed:

  1. Feeling of pain and burning on the skin. These uncomfortable sensations appear a few hours earlier than the rash itself
  2. severe pain shooting character in the muscles and joints that are under the affected skin;
  3. numbness and tingling of the skin around the rash
  4. the rash grows into a variety of bubbles, the skin becomes swollen and becomes reddish;
  5. changes in the size of the lymph nodes, if the lesions are located on the chest, underarms, on the neck and lower part of the chin
  6. rashes may appear on the face, then cover the head, including the part with hair, descend to the chest and abdomen, and from there go to the back, ie, from the name encircle the body.

At the beginning of the progression of the ailment, the vesicles are filled with a transparent exudate. But after a few days he becomes turbid. Further, these bubbles dry up and become crusted, which eventually also disappears. After the rash completely heals, and it happens about two weeks after the first signs, in some cases, ulcers and scars remain, and in some cases not.


If you start treatment in time, you can avoid the occurrence of the consequences of herpes zoster. But in case of untimely recourse, there is a high probability of complications, the most common of which is the presence of permanent pain at the site of rashes. The consequences also include:

  • loss of sensitivity in the area where the rash was located;
  • reduced visual acuity and inflammation of the eyeballs, which can lead to complete blindness (only if herpes appeared on the face)
  • Purulent discharge due to intense combing of dried vesicles
  • lowering of the motor activity of the lower and upper extremities, down to paralysis
  • movement of the herpes virus to internal organs with mucosal lesions
  • facial paralysis
  • Pneumonia.

Herpes zoster during pregnancy is dangerous because the consequences of it are deplorable. Its pathogenic activity can lead to infection of the fetus, miscarriage and the birth of a dead baby.


It is not difficult to diagnose herpes zoster, since the disease has only rashes characteristic of it. The doctor needs to know the following for determining the complete picture of the course of the disease and the form of its manifestation:

  1. whether infection occurred after contact with a sick person
  2. exact time of rash appearance
  3. what feelings the patient feels at this point

After this, a complete examination of the patient is performed to determine the localization of the rashes. You may also need additional advice from a gynecologist and an ophthalmologist. In order to find out whether any associated pathological processes occur inside the body or not, a complete biochemical blood test is performed.


More often, pathology is administered in a hospital environment to exclude the transmission of the virus to other people, and also to ensure that the patient is under the constant supervision of medical specialists.

For the treatment of herpes zoster apply:

  • painkillers that will remove discomfort
  • medicinal ointments with lidocaine
  • drugs that strengthen immunity
  • green or fucocin solution for handling bubbles
  • antiviral substances
  • antibiotics — to prevent complications.

In addition, in the treatment it will be useful to observe personal hygiene, regularly change the underwear and bed linen. During the course of the disease should be limited to taking baths — all procedures performed in the shower. Also it is necessary to be carefully wiped, for avoidance of a supercooling and display of a repeated rash.

With such complications as inflammation of the brain and spinal cord or their membranes, the patient should be treated only in the hospital for from three months to six months.

But this is not all ways to treat herpes zoster. Therapy of such a disease can be carried out at home with the use of folk remedies, but only after a preliminary consultation with a doctor. It is important to know that treatment with folk remedies should not be independent, but should be combined with other methods.

At home, the treatment of herpes zoster consists of rubbing the eruptions using:

  1. natural oils — fir, sea-buckthorn, geranium and tea tree
  2. Aloe juice
  3. cream of garlic and honey
  4. Fried onion compress
  5. lotion from undiluted apple cider vinegar

A compress made of a towel soaked in cold water will do the job well, but it is not necessary to apply it for a short while, so as not to worsen the process of wound healing.

Also, treatment at home consists of ingestion of infusions and decoctions from:

  • Peppermint
  • dog rose
  • hawthorn
  • Eucalyptus.

In addition, at home, you can without any restrictions drink herbal teas and freshly squeezed juices.


Prophylaxis of herpes zoster consists of:

  1. restrictions on communication and contact with patients with chickenpox, in order to avoid transmission of the virus. It is important to remember how the infectious agent is transmitted to protect yourself;
  2. compliance with personal hygiene;
  3. strengthening immunity, especially during pregnancy;
  4. performing moderate daily exercise;
  5. hardening;
  6. good rest — sleep must be at least eight hours
  7. rational nutrition, enriched with vitamins and nutrients. It is better to eat food in small portions five or six times a day;
  8. Do not use tableware and personal care products in conjunction with an infected person, as there is a risk of transmission of the virus.

It is recommended that pregnant women become registered with the doctor on time and regularly go to the reception.