Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

*Practice update COVID-19

Dear patient,

 

I want to start by thanking our patients for their loyalty to our small dermatology practice.  We want to assure all of our patients that our office is open and that we have instituted multiple measures to assure your health and safety.  

 

Over two weeks ago, we took extreme measures for disinfecting the exam rooms, the front office, and waiting room.   We have eliminated the sign in sheet at the front desk.   We are asking all of our patients and vendors to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer on entering and leaving the office.   Of course, we have stopped shaking hands and giving hugs.   All of our medical personnel are using disposable gloves when touching patients.   Thankfully, our practice is small, so patients are never closer than 6 feet from each other in the waiting room.

 

As a further effort to meet the needs of our patients, we will be implementing a telemedicine option for our patients.  We are working diligently to set up a HIPAA compliant platform for this type of service.  Unfortunately, not all dermatologic conditions can be treated via telemedicine.  If you think you might have a condition that could be treated via telemedicine and are interested in this service for a future appointment, please contact the practice at 208-287-5525 to be put on an interest list.

 

We thank you for your patronage of our practice and are confident that the resilience of our community will help us limit the impact of this global health crisis.  Your health and well-being is our utmost concern. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Lindie Borton, M.D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our team of professionals and staff believe that informed patients are better equipped to make decisions regarding their health and well-being. For your personal use, we have created an extensive patient library covering an array of educational topics, which can be found on the side of each page. Browse through these diagnoses and treatments to learn more about topics of interest to you.

As always, you can contact our office to answer any questions or concerns.

Shingles is a painful rash that is caused by the varicella zoster virus. It usually appears as a band or strip of blisters on one side of the body that goes from the spine around the front to the breastbone. However, shingles can also appear on the neck, nose and forehead.

Shingles derives from the same virus that causes chicken pox. After having chicken pox, the virus lies dormant in nerve tissue underneath the skin. Years later, and with no known reason, it reactivates and causes shingles. Shingles is contagious and can easily pass through touching from one person to another. The virus develops into shingles for people who have had chicken pox and develops into chicken pox for those who have not had it. Shingles appears most frequently among older adults (age 60+) and in people with compromised immune systems. Generally, a person only gets shingles once; it rarely recurs.

Symptoms for shingles include:

  • Pain, burning, numbness or tingling on one side of the body. The pain often precedes any other symptoms.
  • A rash that appears a few days after the pain. It may be itchy.
  • Blisters that break open and then crust over.
  • Fever, achiness or headache.

Some people never get a rash or blisters with shingles, but simply experience the pain.

Shingles is diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination of the telltale rash. If you suspect you may have shingles, it is important to contact your doctor as quickly as possible. Early treatment can reduce the pain and severity of the episode. Two types of medications are prescribed to treat shingles:

  • Antiviral drugs to combat the virus, such as acyclovir, valacyclovir and famciclovir.
  • Pain medicines, from oral pain pills and antidepressants to anticonvulsants and topical preparations that contain skin-numbing agents.

Shingles usually heals in about 2 to 3 weeks without any problem. However, there is a small percentage of patients (10% to 15%), predominantly over age 50, who experience pain that lasts beyond one month after the healing period. This is called postherpetic neuralgia. Catching shingles early and beginning treatment can reduce the likelihood and severity of postherpetic neuralgia. See your dermatologist for pain relief.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a vaccine, called Zostavax, for the prevention of adult shingles. It is approved for adults age 60 or older who have had chicken pox. Essentially, the vaccine delivers a booster dose of chicken pox. The vaccine has proven to be very effective in reducing the incidence of shingles and postherpetic neuralgia.