DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, affecting the face of a patient. Herpes zoster is caused by the varicella-zoster virus which also causes chickenpox. It is an infection of the nerves that supply certain areas of the skin. The infection starts with an excessive sensitivity in the area affected, followed by pain which sometimes may be severe. After about five days rash appears with red spots which quickly turn into tense blisters. Within three days the blisters become yellowish and soon dry often leaving small pitted scars. The pain is a consequence of damage to the nerves and may last for months or years. Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir are used to minimise nerve damage.
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