Herpes zoster, also known as shingles or zoster, is a viral infection caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox.

Anyone who’s had chicken pox can develop herpes zoster. Zoster is most common on the trunk and buttocks. But it can also appear on the face, arms or legs if nerves in these areas are involved.

The difference between genital herpes and zoster is the type of virus that causes them. Genital herpes and cold sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex virus, whereas Zoster is an infection caused by the Herpes varicella-zoster virus.

Zoster, usually clears on its own in a few weeks and seldom recurs, however, many who experience this infection find it extremely painful.

This acutely painful phase usually lasts several weeks but people do sometimes continue to experience pain or neuralgia long after the outbreak has cleared. This is known as post-herpetic neuralgia.

If diagnosed early, oral anti-viral drugs can be prescribed to decrease both viral shedding and the duration of the herpes zoster skin lesions and pain relievers and cool compresses are helpful in drying the blisters.

Although shingles cannot be prevented, staying healthy, eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, resting adequately and controlling stress may help keep the immune system healthy.

In turn, the chances of avoiding or recovering from shingles can be increased. Here are some links that may be helpful:

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