The answer to is shingles contagious? is yes, but only in the sense that it can be passed from one person to another by direct contact. In other words, you could get the disease from a person with whom you shared some physical contact, but since there is no way of knowing who was involved in such an act, the infection would be considered “incurable”. Shingles, on the other hand, can be treated with medication.
The problem with answering the question is, of course, that we don’t know the difference between what is the same virus that causes chickenpox and the same virus that causes shingles. Because it is caused by the same virus, the symptoms are similar. In some patients, for example, the rash can last up to three weeks – which is obviously a lot longer than the three days described above. Also, because some of the symptoms come on very quickly (like having painful urination) others take much longer.
The virus itself is a kind of infection that originates in the nerves that have connections with the brain and spinal cord. It causes more serious complications than the simple chickenpox: it causes fever, pain, headaches, stress and loss of appetite, among other symptoms. Knowing what causes these complications can be helpful in determining whether the disease that causes these symptoms is treatable or not. For this reason, doctors use laboratory tests to determine the severity of the infection and to help them come up with the right treatment.
The most common tests for diagnosing shingles are the rashes, which are identified if they appear anywhere in the body and last for at least three weeks. Sometimes, however, the symptoms don’t manifest for months, so the doctor may test the area for other conditions, such as dandruff or eczema. Some of the symptoms can also be related to meningitis or meningoencephalitis, which are different diseases affecting the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Diagnosing shingles requires looking at all the symptoms:
If you ask how is shingles contagious then, the doctor will probably look for the early symptoms. These symptoms can include the appearance of the first rashes, which are usually reddish, raised, red or irritated bumps. As they begin to develop, they become larger, harder and itchier. Generally, these rashes disappear within three days or a week or two. However, if the rashes don’t go away after a week or two – they could be an indicator that the person has developed shingles.
The next step would be to look for the causative agent. This will help determine whether a certain medication is effective in treating the infection. Since herpes does not have any cure, there is no known cause or cure. That means that doctors can’t make any definite identification of the virus. There is, however, one way to diagnose whether a patient has contracted this disease: through a blood test. Depending on the results of the test, doctors can conclude whether a patient is infected with the virus or not.
The symptoms mentioned above can easily be confused with the pains caused by various diseases: for instance, herpes and genital warts are both characterized by a burning, itchy sensation. However, they are quite distinct. A common treatment for shingles, besides antiviral drugs, is pain relieving cream. Pain relief creams for shingles treatment can either relieve the pain caused by the infection or completely eliminate it. Applying the creams on the affected area should start working in a few days.
Other symptoms that might get you wondering about a possible outbreak of shingles include fever and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms usually indicate that your body’s immune system is fighting off a viral infection, so if yours is weak, you run the risk of catching the virus. If this happens, doctors advise that you boost your immune system by taking vitamin supplements and other healthful supplements.