This complaint is caused by a type of herpes virus (Herpes zoster) and is related to chickenpox — it is similar in appearance but more restricted in the areas of the body that are affected. Shingles can be particularly painful, accompanied by a fever of about three days duration. The pain and rash range along the intercostal nerves, under the ribs and running under the armpit to the back. It can also affect the face and shoulders. The rash or spots eventually form blisters and open weeping lesions. Even after these have begun to heal, the pain in the affected area may continue to be intense.

Like the rest of the diseases caused by the various herpes viruses, shingles is not curable. And there is only limited success in countering the symptoms. However, recent reports have suggested that such treatments as Vitamin E, taken orally and applied directly on the lesions, can reduce the pain. Vitamin C injections have also been found to be effective in both reducing pain and drying up lesions.

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