Painful blisters on a red base. Rash may be preceed by pain in the area.
Follows nerve segments, in a band-like pattern. Does not cross the midline
Herpes zoster is caused by the reactivation of latent Varicella Zoster Virus (VSV). A reactivation usually occurs in the elderly and immunocompromised, but may occur for unknown reasons. It has been reported in children.
Hallmark of the disease:
Small grouped vesicles on a pink/red base that occurs unilaterally without crossing the midline. The rash is usually limited to 1-2 dermatomes (nerve segments) and pain may accompany the eruption.
Aggressive antiviral drugs combined with topical and systemic anti-inflammatory medications (prednisone and topical steroids) to minimize the development of post herpetic neuralgia which is the most significant manifestation of this disorder.
The course of the eruption depends on 3 factors; age, severity and immunosuppression. Clearing is usually seen in 2-3 weeks, but may last up to three months in severe cases.
Explain that the condition is a re-activation of the chicken pox virus. Compliance with the treatment program is essential to decrease the potential complication of post-herpetic neuralgia
To review patient education goals, access compliance and to monitor side effects and effectiveness of the treatment plan. Monitor and maintain patient comfort.
Dr. Crutchfield recommends the following helpful Patient information:
American Academy of Dermatology: Herpes Zoster