Shingles or herpes zoster as it is commonly known is a viral disease, caused by herpes vericella virus. The virus is from same family which causes chickenpox. Shingles is easily diagnosed due to the characteristic rash with blisters. However, in rare conditions shingles can be present without rash, the condition is known as zoster sine herpete, and in such cases diagnosis becomes difficult.
What Causes Shingles?
Singles virus affects the nerve roots. People of elderly age are the usual victims, most often people above the age of 60 are affected with herpes zoster.
Commonly the rash develops as a stripe of blisters on the surface of the skin, either on the right or left side of the body. Before the rash develops, there may be severe pain on particular section of the body. Fever and chill, body ache, headache, tingling and burning, with nausea and vomiting are some associated symptoms. The rash may develop after 3 to 4 days and last for a week; eventually the fluid filled blisters will dry.
Symptoms Of Shingles Without Rash Or Blisters
The above description is classical for shingles with rash, however sometimes shingles may develop without rash. It is important to know the symptoms as one can be easily misdiagnosed in absence of shingle rash. Following are shingles without rash symptoms:
- Pain: severe pain is a noticeable symptom of zoster sine herpete.
- Fever is another symptom that is frequently associated with herpes without rash. However, without rash it becomes difficult to for the physician to clinch the diagnosis of herpes zoster, this is because there are many other conditions where fever with pain can be a presenting symptom.
- Itching and tingling over the particular section of the skin.
- Headache and body ache are other features that may be associated with zoster sine herpete.
- One unusual symptom of herpes without rash is Bell’s palsy. The disease is characterized by paralysis of one sided facial muscles. The virus infects the facial nerves that supply the muscles of the face causing inflammation. The person is not able to smile from the affected side of the face. He also finds difficulty in closing his eyelids of the affected side. There may be drooling of saliva from the angle of mouth of the affected side of the face.
Shingles No Rash Treatment
Usually shingles without rash is generally present in elderly individuals. With growing age and absence of classical rash, diagnosing shingles in such circumstances becomes difficult for the attending medical practitioner.
The symptoms sometime mimic as that of heart attack or chest disease when present over chest. So to confirm shingles without rash, blood sample is tested in laboratory for presence herpes virus. Once herpes virus is confirmed, the physician prescribes anti viral medicines to shorten the period of symptoms and for its cure.