Shingles usually resolves within two to three weeks but some people do have lasting mobility issues after the virus due to nerve damage. The risk of shingles complications can be reduced by taking a few simple steps. Many such steps can also help you avoid developing shingles.
For instance, anyone with shingles should make sure to keep their skin clean to reduce the risk of further infection. To avoid spreading infection or suffering from repeat infection, avoid reusing any contaminated items that cannot be sanitized. Non-disposable items should be boiled in water or disinfected before reuse.Avoid infecting anyone who has not been exposed to chickenpox by remaining isolated until the sores have sealed up.
Long-Term Shingles Complications
Postherpetic neuralgia is a condition that may arise after shingles and is caused by nerve trauma that has failed to heal properly. It is more common in those over the age of sixty and the pain may last months or even years. The pain can range from mild to severe and is just one of many possible shingles complications.
Where the virus affects the eyes it can cause blindness, and some may become deaf after shingles or develop Ramsay Hunt syndrome or encephalitis of sepsis. The risks of such a prognosis are reduced with prompt treatment, making it important to access medical care immediately upon symptoms of shingles, particularly where the immune system is weakened by medications or disease.
Effective vaccinations exist for both chickenpox and shingles. Shingles complications are considered less likely in adults vaccinated against shingles who do end up with the viral infection. Every year, millions of people develop shingles, and complications are more likely in older adults and those with compromised immune function. As such, vaccines for the over-sixties are routinely recommended.
To help prevent falling ill with shingles, it is a good idea to avoid contact with anyone known to have shingles and to ensure plentiful rest, good nutrition and stress management to promote healthy immune function. These actions are also important should you become infected as they improve your chance of a good response to shingles treatment.