Herpes zoster: symptoms, causes, treatment in adults

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The appearance on the skin of rashes in the form of small vesicles, pain, itching and swelling of the skin - may be symptoms of the development of herpes zoster, also known as lichen.

  • Features of the disease
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Kinds
  • Home Treatment
  • Treatment with folk remedies
  • Sea salt
  • Mint
  • Burdock
  • Aloe
  • Agrimony
  • Chamomile
  • Birch tar
  • Complications
  • Prevention
Related articles:
  • Causes and treatment of herpes on the lips
  • Effectively get rid of genital herpes
  • Herpes in the Intimate Zone: Proper Treatment
  • We treat the herpes correctly during pregnancy
  • Herpes on the lip during pregnancy: the causes of the appearance, methods of treatment

Features of the disease

Herpes zoster is an infectious disease that occurs in an acute form and is accompanied by specific symptoms. It is caused by a virus of chicken pox. Eruptions are formed along the course of individual sensitive nerves.

Any person at any age can be affected by herpes zoster.

  • in case of contact with infected, if there is no vaccination against chicken pox and if previously a healthy person did not get sick of it;
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  • with the reactivation of the virus, the appearance in the body of which is caused by the primary infection of Varizela-Zoster.

The most common herpes zoster in children occurs after reaching the age of 10 years.

Important!The condition of the child can deteriorate sharply, so do not neglect the call of an ambulance.


The appearance of herpes zoster is associated primarily with the weakening of the human immune system. This causes an increase in the activity of the infection, which is present in the body in an inactive form.

Causes may arise:

  • decreased immunity due to the use of immunosuppressants and other medications;
  • psychoemotional stress, stress;
  • increased physical activity;
  • as a complication in radiotherapy;
  • oncological diseases;
  • bone or spinal cord transplantation;
  • HIV infection, AIDS.

Important!We already wrote about the causes of herpes on the lips in our article.

As diagnostic measures, an anamnesis is collected, a patient is questioned for complaints and the patient is immediately examined. In order to identify the primary source of infection, an epidemiological history is made to clarify the presence of contact with herpes zoster or chicken pox.

It is possible to conduct laboratory methods as additional studies:

  • the establishment of antibodies to the causative agent in human blood;
  • a polymerase chain reaction method for detecting the DNA of a virus;
  • identification of the virus genome of the pathogen directly in cells or histological preparations by in situ hybridization.

The disease is transmitted by airborne droplets and in close contact with its carriers, so it is very contagious.

Important!The main means against the disease is prevention and enhancement of immunity.


The course of the disease occurs with characteristic specific symptoms. The incubation period lasts up to 3 weeks. In the event that the patient has had a chicken pox earlier, this period may last several years.

Herpes zoster accompanied by:

  • soreness of the skin, redness and swelling;
  • the appearance of rashes is accompanied by pain of varying degrees of severity and character in the muscles and joints;
  • burning affected areas of the skin, numbness, tingling;
  • on the skin there is the formation of vesicles with a transparent liquid of various diameters, the rashes are localized mainly in a one-sided form and are located along the intercostal nerves, branches of the trigeminal nerve.

Therefore, the appearance of herpes zoster on the face, in the chest and abdomen in the direction from the spine to the sternum, forms a bandaging band around the body. On the head it spreads over the hairy part of it. As the acute period passes, the contents of the bubbles cloud, they dry out, the surface becomes crusted. Then, when it disappears, a slight pigmentation remains in its place. A second rash after this is not ruled out. As a rule, scarring does not remain. The final healing of wounds from ulcers occurs within a month. (In some cases, there is herpes in the intimate zone, but read about this in our article).

Also, the lymph nodes in the rash area increase:

  • axillary lymph nodes (with rashes in the chest area);
  • submaxillary (with rashes along the trigeminal nerve);
  • other groups of lymph nodes.

The disease occurs in a typical and atypical form. How quickly treatment will give results depends on the nature of the disease and the immunity of the patient. Atypical form differs not in a specific clinical picture with altered flow symptoms.

Important!You can also read about herpes on the lips during pregnancy.


Forms of the disease:

  • abortive - specific formations on the skin are absent or represented by single foci, pain syndrome may not be observed, severe itching;
  • buleznaya - differs by a significant spread of a lot of bubbles with transparent contents, which are localized on the surface of the skin by groups;
  • Hemorrhagic - the characteristic vesicles that form on the skin are filled with bloody contents. They lead to damage to the deep layers of the skin, therefore, after healing, scars can remain;
  • gangrenous - on the skin, deep hard-healing ulcers with subsequent formation of coarse scars are formed.

Home Treatment

When herpes zoster appears, several groups of drugs are treated, which include:

  • antiviral agents;
  • immunomodulators;
  • painkillers;
  • fortifying agents - vitamins of group B.

Depending on the form of the course, treatment with medications is accompanied by an additional appointment of a course of antibiotics. Especially relevant is the treatment of herpes zoster in the elderly in a gangrenous form against a background of decreased immunity.

To relieve the itching apply:

  • antihistamine preparations for oral administration;
  • corticosteroids in the form of ointments and creams for local effects.

Also, treatment of herpes zoster includes the need to treat the localization of the vesicles 1% solution of diamond green or furatsilinom.

In addition, with the appearance of herpes zoster for a speedy recovery and an obstacle to the spread of infection, it is required:

  • regular change of bed linen, clothes, towels;
  • refusal of water procedures during the acute stage;
  • food during treatment should be in compliance with dietary recommendations - refusal of fried, spicy, smoked food, eating more fruits and vegetables, rich in vitamins C.

Treatment is performed both at home and inpatient, depending on the form and severity of the course of the disease, as well as the presence of concomitant infections and complications.

Important!Treatment of herpes at home should last a long time, during which it is necessary to adhere to the recommendations of a specialist and apply drugs in a complex composition. Antiviral means alone can not cure herpes.

Treatment with folk remedies

Treatment with medications can be supplemented with the use of traditional medicine to accelerate recovery and reduce the manifestation of symptoms.

Sea salt

Removal of itching and swelling can help taking baths with sea salt. They also promote the healing and disinfection of wounds. For these purposes, it is necessary to add 4-5 Art. l. salt in water, a few drops of iodine and take for 15-20 minutes before going to bed.


To ease the symptoms of taking herbal lotions. Decoction of mint rubs the affected areas. It is prepared from 1 tbsp. l. leaves of mint, which is poured with 1 glass of boiling water, it is insisted for 2-3 hours, cooled to room temperature, filtered. Wetting in a clean gauze, treat the skin.


Treatment of herpes zoster on the body is also supplemented with a local remedy: infusion of burdock as a compress. To do this, 1 tbsp. l. dry plants pour 1 cup boiling water, insist 2-3 hours. In the received herbal infusion, moisten gauze and apply to a sore spot, topping with a bandage. Leave it overnight. Apply to relieve symptoms.


Reduce the pain and itchiness of the leaves of aloe. To do this, before bedtime, put a half-cut aloe leaf, fix it with a bandage and leave it overnight.


Infusion of burdock contributes to a decrease in viral activity. It is taken half the glass 2 times a day. Preparation: 1 tbsp. l. burdock is poured with 1 glass of boiling water, it is infused, cooled, filtered. Drink before eating.


To relieve pain, use cold compresses from a towel soaked in cold water. You can also freeze the decoction of chamomile and rub these skin pieces of ice to relieve the condition.

Birch tar

To accelerate the regeneration and healing of the skin, tar from birch is used. It is applied to the skin for several hours, leaving the surface open. At the end of the procedure, the bubbles are treated with hydrogen peroxide or green leaf to dry the affected areas. They also have antibacterial action, preventing the spread of infection.

Important!How to treat herpes depends on the form of the course and severity of the disease.


The disease with herpes zoster is dangerous for its complications.

In the absence of appropriate treatment and non-compliance with the recommendations of a specialist, as well as in severe forms of leakage, the consequences are possible:

  • loss of partial or full sensitivity and impaired motor capacity in the limbs;
  • loss of sensitivity in the areas of rashes;
  • infectious and inflammatory diseases of internal organs;
  • development of secondary infection, resulting in suppuration of the vesicles;
  • pain syndrome against the background of postherpetic neuralgia, which passes, after a while. Chronic form of postherpetic neuralgia is extremely rare, it is mainly exposed to persons with serious impairment of immunity;
  • inflammatory processes affecting the cornea of ​​the eye and the eyeball, which can lead to loss of vision;
  • paralysis of the facial nerve.

With a gangrenous form of the course of the disease, scar formation is observed, as well as when the patient combs the formed bubbles.


In order to prevent the spread of infection, it is recommended to limit contact with the sick person and isolate him. This is especially important in case the sick person is surrounded by healthy people who have not had chicken pox and not been vaccinated.

Compliance with personal hygiene rules plays a leading role in preventing infection and spreading the infection. It is always necessary to use only personal things when washing, doing hygienic procedures, do not wear someone else's clothes, wash your hands regularly, and so on.

Considering the fact that the disease develops against the background of weakened immunity, it is necessary to strengthen it comprehensively. To do this, you should:

  • to go in for sports or physiotherapy;
  • regularly take walks in the fresh air;
  • take multivitamin complexes;
  • provide sleep and rest;
  • avoid stressful situations;
  • balanced eating;
  • Eliminate bad habits in the form of alcohol and smoking.

As with any disease, to prevent herpes zoster it is necessary to better monitor your health, take care of strengthening immunity and follow the doctor's recommendations.

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