Peruvian expert: COVID-19 patients can develop shingles

Photo: ANDINA/EsSalud

Photo: ANDINA/EsSalud

11:31 | Lima, Jan. 13.

Peru's Social Health Insurance System (EsSalud) warned that patients infected by COVID-19 —who are under treatment or whose immune system is weakened— are more exposed to suffering from herpes zoster.

Dr. Rocio Rojas, a dermatologist at EsSalud, clarified that herpes zoster is caused by the reactivation of the varicella virus, which is hidden in the body.

This condition comes with intense pain in the affected areas days prior to the appearance of skin lesions.

"The varicella virus remains in our immune system; thus, it is a necessary factor to release this disease," said the specialist.

It mainly affects the chest region, but it can also appear in any other part of the body.

One of the complications from this disease is the post-herpetic neuralgia, which is characterized by chronic pain lasting more than one month, like a burning sensation in the affected areas, said the specialist.

Signs and symptoms

The main symptoms are chills, fevers, nausea, diarrhea, and difficulty urinating, which may appear 3 or 4 days before the onset of the disease.

In addition, it is characterized by pain prior to the appearance of skin lesions, associated with burning pain.

The specialist recommended going to the hospital within 72 hours of the appearance of lesions, so that the response to treatment is effective, in addition to following a treatment aimed at controlling the constant pain by using antivirals and analgesics.


While there is no cure for zoster, prompt treatment with antiviral medications —prescribed by a doctor— can speed up the healing process and reduce the risk of complications.


Published: 1/13/2021
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