top of page

Useful information

Herpes zoster - VZV infection

Herpes zoster, also known as shingles, is a viral infection caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which is also responsible for chickenpox. Most people have chickenpox during childhood and therefore develop immunity to the varicella zoster virus. However, the virus can become active again later in life and later cause shingles. Reactivation of the virus results in a rash that usually appears on one side of the body and in the classic form  like a belt around the torso. The rash consists of small, painful blisters that burst open  and crust over a few days. Infection is spread through direct contact with fluid from the blisters. It is very contagious because the viruses  are airborne. 

Shingles is most common in people over the age of 50, but it can occur at any age. There are antiviral medications that can reduce the severity of symptoms and help prevent complications. Pain-relieving medication and cold packs can also help relieve the itching and pain. It is important to initiate good pain therapy quickly, as the risk of severe, persistent pain is increased. This is then referred to as postherpetic neuralgia. This is characterized by persistent and often unbearable pain at the site where the shingles rash appeared. The pain can be a burning, stabbing, or tingling sensation and may be accompanied by numbness or sensitivity to cold.


Treatment for herpes zoster (shingles) aims to reduce the severity of symptoms and prevent complications. Treatment may vary depending on the severity of the condition and the age of the patient. 

The main treatment for shingles is taking antiviral medications such as aciclovir, valaciclovir, or famciclovir. These drugs can slow down the growth of the varicella zoster virus and shorten the duration of the disease. They should be taken as early as possible to get the best possible result. 

Pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen and cold packs can also be used to relieve pain and itching. In severe cases, treatment with corticosteroids may also be considered to reduce the risk of complications such as zoster meningitis. 

If you suspect you have shingles, you should consult your doctor for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. 

There is also a shingles vaccine that is recommended for certain people to reduce their risk of developing the disease. This includes people over the age of 60, people with weakened immune systems and people with certain chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or cancer. If you want to find out about your risk and the possibility of getting the shingles vaccine, you should consult your doctor. 

bottom of page