Shingles in Adults, Does Stress Cause Shingles, Pictures of Shingles, Contagious, on Face, Long Does Shingles Last, without Rash, Treatment

An overview of shingles in adults, does stress cause shingles, pictures of shingles, contagious, on face, long does shingles last, without rash, treatment

Does Stress Cause Shingles

Herpes zoster also called shingles is brought about by reactivation of the virus called varicell zoster which also causes chicken pox. This virus is dormant but is activated by stress leading to a rash on skin. Those people who are affected with the condition are encouraged to seek medical attention from qualified physicians.

The central nervous as well as the immune systems are interrelated, and psychological stressors can thus interfere with their functional interaction. The duration of the stress response are important factors which determine the degree of immune dysfunction and health-related outcome.

Stressor duration are crucial due to the fact that it impacts the release of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. Over time, the presence of the hormones depress the immune response.

Physiologic Stress and Shingles

Chronic, severe pain is said to be a powerful stressor which leads to reactivation of VZV as it contributes to emotional distress, causing depression. In addition, the stress which is related to trauma or even surgery have been shown to lead to a reactivation of VZV at the skin area of injury. In one research, participants who were suffering from a zoster outbreak were more likely to report some trauma at the area of their zoster within a period of 1 month before an outbreak.

Psychological Stress and Shingles

Psychological stress is normally defined as a perceived stress which influences a person’s ability to cope with events in life. A perceived lack of social support also causes the stress response. People with herpes zoster are thus more likely to have had bad life events in the 2, 3, or 6 months before onset of shingles, and to have had significantly more life events in the 6 months before the outbreak of the zoster.

Handling Stress to Prevent an Outbreak

Stressed people usually cope by taking up the risky health habits which leads to their stress and immune functions. These might include poor eating habits, interruptions in the sleeping patterns as well as less exercise. In addition, they also tend to abuse a lot of alcohol and drugs. To better handle stress and also prevent a shingle outbreak, the negative habits are supposed to be avoided. In addition, social interactions, especially inclusion of a confidant, can assist in reducing the chances of developing zoster.

Pictures of Shingles

Is Shingles Contagious

Shingles is not contagious. A person can’t spread the condition to another person. But, the varicella-zoster virus is itself contagious, and if you have the condition, you can spread the virus to another, which may then make them develop chickenpox.

The varicella-zoster virus stays in that person’s nerve tissue for their entire life. For most times, the virus is in an inactive state. But if the person’s immune system can’t contain it, then the virus might then activate again later. This might lead to the person developing shingles.

A person with the condition can spread the varicella-zoster virus to another person who has never had chickenpox. This is due to the fact that if a person has had chickenpox, then they have antibodies against the virus in their body.

Shingles in adults leads to open, oozing blisters, and the virus may also spread through contact with the unscabbed shingles blisters. If a person had chickenpox, then you may get the virus from contact with another person’s oozing shingles blisters. This might cause chickenpox.

The virus usually doesn’t spread after blisters have already formed crusty scabs. Once they scab, they’re no longer contagious as before. The virus doesn’t spread when blisters are well-covered.

You can’t get the shingles through contact with saliva or even the nasal secretions of another person who has shingles, except in very rare cases. That implies that you usually can’t get the shingles if someone who has it coughs or even sneezes on you.

Shingles on Face

Shingles is a rash which normally appears on one side of chest and also the back. It might also develop on one side of face and sometimes around the eye.

The condition is very painful and may sometimes have very long-term side effects. No cure for the shingles is available, but ensuring that you get early treatment lowers your risk of experiencing serious complications.

Shingles leads to a red rash which forms a band on one side of your face. The rash may also appear anywhere in several places. The second most common rash area is the face. It may spread from the ear to the forehead. It might also spread around a single eye, which can lead to redness as well as swelling of an eye and the surrounding area. The shingles rash sometimes develops in mouth.

Many people feel a burning sensation days before the red bumps appear.

The shingles in adults begin as blisters that are filled with lesions. Some individuals have a few blisters that are scattered about, and other people have a lot of them that it appears like a burn. The blisters then starts to break, ooze, and then crust over. After some days, the scabs start falling off.

After recovering from chickenpox, the virus can stay in body for your entire life. It may also remain dormant forever, but if it is reactivated, then you get shingles. It’s not clear what exactly reactivates the virus, but it’s likely to occur if you experience a compromised immune system. You may get it at any given age, but your risk increases after the age of 60. It’s also not clear why some individuals get shingles primarily on face.

How Long Does Shingles Last

About 30% of adults gets shingles. Shingles in adults lasts for a period of two to six weeks, following a consistent pattern of pain and then healing.

What happens at each stage?

When the virus reactivates, you might feel some amount of discomfort or just a twinge that is under your skin, as if there is an irritation at a given skin area on one side of your body.

This might be anywhere on your body, including:

  • waist
  • thigh
  • face
  • ear

This location might be sensitive to touch. It can also feel:

  • numb
  • itchy
  • hot

Usually within a period of 5 days, a red rash appears in the area. As the rash develops, small groups of liquid-filled blisters then form. They might ooze.

Over the next one week or so, the blisters will start to dry up and then crust over forming scabs.

For some other people, these particular symptoms are usually accompanied by the flu-like symptoms. This are:

  • fever
  • headache
  • light sensitivity


What treatment options are available?

See your physician immediately you notice the rash forming. They might prescribe an antiviral drug so as to assist in easing your symptoms and then clear the virus.

Some antiviral options are:

  • famciclovir
  • valacyclovir
  • acyclovir

Your doctor might also recommend over-the-counter options to assist in relieving any pain and irritation you’re experiencing.

For moderate pain and irritation, you may use:

  • anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, reducing pain and swelling
  • antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, reducing itching
  • numbing creams, such as lidocaine to reduce pain

If your pain is severe, then your doctor might recommend prescription pain medication. Your doctor may also recommend treatment by use of the corticosteroids or local anesthetics.

In some other cases, your doctor might prescribe a low-dose antidepressant so as to help with the pain. Certain antidepressant medications have been indicated to reduce the pain of the condition over time.

Options often include:

  • amitriptyline
  • imipramine

Anticonvulsant medications might also be another option. They have proved very useful in reducing shingles nerve pain, although their main use is in epileptic conditions. The most commonly prescribed anticonvulsants are Neurontin.

Although it might be tempting, just ensure that you shouldn’t scratch. This may cause an infection, which can worsen your overall condition causing new symptoms.

Shingles without Rash

Shingles without a rash is also known as “zoster sine herpete” (ZSH). It’s not very common. It’s also difficult to diagnose due to the fact that the usual shingles rash isn’t present.

The chickenpox virus leads to all forms of shingles. This virus is called varicella zoster virus. If you’ve had chickenpox, then the virus remains dormant in nerve cells. Experts don’t understood what leads to the virus to reactivate and the reason why it reactivates in some people and not others.

When VZV reappears as shingles, the virus is called the herpes zoster. Keep reading so as to understand about the condition and what you should expect if you develop the shingles without a rash.


What are the symptoms of shingles without a rash?

The symptoms of the shingles in adults are very much similar to the symptoms that are experienced of shingles but without a rash. The symptoms are isolated to one side of the body and they occur on face and neck, and in eyes. Symptoms can also occur in internal organs. Typical symptoms are:

  • a painful burning sensation
  • numbness
  • a headache
  • general achy feeling
  • pain radiating from the spine
  • sensitivity to touch

What causes shingles without a rash?

No one including the doctors understands why VZV reactivates as shingles in some people only.

Shingles normally happens in people who have compromised immune systems. Your immune system might be compromised due to:

  • chemotherapy for cancer
  • HIV
  • corticoid steroids
  • an organ transplant
  • high stress

Shingles in adults isn’t contagious. If you have the condition and are in contact with another person who hasn’t had chickenpox or wasn’t vaccinated, you might give that person chickenpox. That person would have to have come in direct contact with your rash. If you have shingles without a rash, then you shouldn’t pass it to others. Still, it’s a very good idea to avoid contact with other people who haven’t had chickenpox including pregnant women until your other symptoms have completely cleared up.

Shingles Treatment

There’s no given cure for shingles, but prompt treatment by use of prescription antiviral drugs might speed healing and thus reduce any risk of complications. These particular medications include:

  • Acyclovir
  • Valacyclovir

Shingles can lead to severe pain, so your doctor also might prescribe:

  • Capsaicin topical patch
  • Anticonvulsants, like gabapentin
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Numbing agents, like lidocaine, delivered through a cream, spray or even the skin patch
  • Medications which have narcotics, like codeine
  • An injection which includes corticosteroids as well as the local anesthetics

Shingles in adults generally lasts between three and six weeks. Many people get shingles only once, but it is possible to get it many times.



  1. Diagnosis:
  2. Can I Have Shingles Without a Rash:
  3. How Long Does Shingles Last? What You Can Expect:
  4. Shingles on the Face: Symptoms, Treatments, and More:
  5. How Contagious Is Shingles:
  6. How Stress Causes Shingles:
  7. Can Stress Trigger Shingles:

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